Elizabeth Gilbert is an American journalist and author. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat Pray Love which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. The book was also made into a film of the same name in 2010.wikipedia
It was March 2018. I was giving my book final proofread when I heard this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it totally shifted my beliefs.
I was an atheist for a year or so before I watched her TED talk, and right afterward I realized I am not an atheist by choice. I was an atheist by the situation because I couldn’t accept that even some failures are supposed to be part of the plan.
How would you feel if you watch a person’s speech for 18-minutes and she successfully convinces you to change your beliefs for good?
I felt hooked to Elizabeth Gilbert right after that moment. I read her books, watched her interviews, and even stalked her everywhere.
Moment of the secret: I still do.
I have used her advice and tips to transform my own life, and no wonder her advice has been an influence on my coaching clients too.
In particular, the following two pieces of advice from Elizabeth Gilbert has helped my coaching clients to transform their lives.
Take the Pressure off From Your Creativity
Like I have mentioned in my previous posts, providing distinctions to clients helps them see things clearly and objectively.
In one of her YouTube videos, Elizabeth Gilbert offers clear distinction in 4 words: Job, Vocation, Hobby, Career.
A hobby is something you do purely for pleasure. The Stakes are ZERO. You don’t have to make money from your hobby or get famous for it. Nobody even has to know anything about your hobby.
Out of all the 4 mentioned — a job is something you have to have. Even if you need to have multiple jobs at a time, it’s the only way to take care of yourself in this materialistic world. You don’t need any sugar daddy or something to take care of you.
Here’s a great thing about the job: it doesn’t have to be awesome. It doesn’t have to fulfill you. It just needs to pay your bills.
If it’s toxic and terrible, maybe change it. But realize that you can have a life outside your job too.
A career is a job that you are passionate about, and you love. And you don’t have to have it. A career is where you are willing to make sacrifices and work extra hours.
If you are in a career right now that you hate, that’s terrible. If you don’t have a career, it’s okay. But if you have a career, you should love it.
Vocation is your calling. It’s a divine power whispering in your ear “I want you to do this”. Nobody can take it from you, nobody can give it to you.
Somebody can give you a job, or take away your job. The same goes for your career. But this isn’t the case for your vocation.
How I used this advice for my clients and myself
I talked to Anangsha about this in one of her YouTube Videos — How to monetize your writing and earn a living.
I described my whole strategy. I love writing, but I didn’t want to be a full-time author and put pressure on my writing. Life coaching is something I can do full time. And that’s what I have been doing.
I am using writing as a medium of marketing. And guess what, if I don’t write for 1–2 days, it won’t affect my income directly.
On the other hand, if I were a content writer, a full-time author, or someone of those lines, I’d have to write a definite amount of words every day in order to keep my income growing.
This distinction between job, career, hobby, and vocation has helped me clear out decisions for my clients too.
Whenever my clients seem to be confused about their core values and life purpose, this distinction helps them figure out if they want to keep their day jobs to try out monetizing their hobbies.
Follow Your Curiosity
In this short video, Elizabeth Gilbert says that there are two kinds of people: Jackhammers and Hummingbirds
Jackhammers are focused on one thing, and they seek efficiency, though they also get obsessive, act like fundamentalists, and get loud at times.
Hummingbirds fly from flower to flower, one region to the other cross-pollinating the areas. They create a fresh and diverse world experience for themselves and all the things they touch.
If you feel you’re more of a hummingbird, maybe that’s how the world needs you to act like.
In short, stop being anxious about having one purpose or one mission in life. Try and follow your curiosity. See where life takes you.
Because there’s a good enough chance that if you follow your curiosity, you might end up living a life you are supposed to live and having a mission so big for life that nothing else will matter to you.
How I used this advice for my clients and myself
Being a purpose coach, I promote having a life purpose. I also understand how stressful it could be to decide which one thing you would be doing for the rest of your life, right?
So I use this Jackhammer v/s Hummingbird analogy with clients to help them realize how following your curiosity could be a starting point.
And guess what? While working with one of my clients, she initially resisted the idea of pursuing X, and she thought of pursuing Y first. She did that for a few months, then even tried Z, but eventually, after 3 months, she realized she only wants to pursue X.
This is a common thing. And if we can just let go of all the anxiety we attach to follow one thing for the rest of our lives, we will be free to follow our curiosity.
The following two pieces of career advice from Elizabeth Gilbert has helped my coaching clients to transform their lives.
Career advice 1
Learn the difference between a job, a career, a hobby, and a vocation. And for starters, free your creativity from any pressure and give it enough space to blossom.
Career advice 2
Follow your curiosity, and get rid of the anxiety of “knowing it all” right away about your life purpose and career. Enjoy the flow of life, and let your curiosity guide you through it.