We’ve all heard the expression, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It’s a phrase that’s meant to tell us not to put all our energy into any one thing. I don’t know about you, but I tend to fluctuate between extremes with this one. You see it’s very rare for any artist to put their eggs in one basket because we usually have multiple gigs or jobs going at the same time. I had reached a point in my life where I had so many things that there were more baskets than eggs and quite frankly all I wanted was one basket. Now I have that one basket. I have finally have one creative job that takes care of everything-or does it?
For a while I was thrilled to be having one job and one sole focus. However, lately I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing in my life. I’ve been discontent and frustrated with where I’m at to the point where I’m having a bit of an identity crisis. I recently realized that the reason for this is because I’ve put all my eggs in one basket. I’ve expected one job to fulfill all my creative outlets in addition to taking care of my financial, social, and physical well being.
Your Identity Can’t be Found in Your Job
I am a big advocate for making a living doing what you love. I think people should be passionate about what they do. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I view a job I should be passionate about as “just a job.” However, I recently read something in the book Love Does by Bob Goff that put an interesting spin on this.
Bob Goff is a lawyer and was very passionate about becoming a lawyer. However, he has many other things that he is involved in, passionate about and volunteers for and because of that he said that he started viewing his career as a “day job” that’s a means to an end. His day job is fundraising for the other things that he’s passionate about. He says:
“Thinking about work as a day job has made a big difference in the way I approach what I do. It’s also helped me not to confuse who I am with what I do.”
That right there is often the trap that we fall into as artists. Our identity is in our work. How could it not be when our creativity is an extension of our lives? We should be passionate about our work and our creativity should be inspired by what’s in our soul. However, as we all know, the artistic life is unpredictable. Life is glorious when we have that creative job that challenges us, spurs our creativity, and inspires us to be a better human being. However, when our job doesn’t do that, or the contract ends, or we’re back to the waiting game-we doubt ourselves, get frustrated, stuck, and want to give up. This is because we are placing our identity in what we do.
How Do We Find Balance?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If we have a job that isn’t creative or what we want, we already view it as a means to an end and we find a creative outlet elsewhere. However, when we have a job we are passionate about (which is awesome and what we all strive for,) it’s easier to rely on that be our creative outlet. The reality of this is that when things are going well at our job, we are good, but when they aren’t, our identity takes a blow.
Something I’m coming to terms with is that even if I have one amazing basket of a job that is creative, I still need to have other creative outlets that way if one fails or is slow, I don’t feel like my whole life is falling apart. There’s also less pressure on you and your job when you have your hand in different things and aren’t depending on one job to fulfill all your creative whims.
The reality is no job will ever have it all. We have to branch out to fill whatever creative voids we may have from our current job situation. Once I came to this conclusion, I found myself brainstorming different creative avenues I could go down and that alone energized me.
The reality is no job will ever have it all. Click & Tweet!
I will leave you with one last quote from musical theatre choreographer, Susan Stroman that I found inspiring in light of my new conclusions: