On Shape-Shifting: The Next Version of Marcella

 What’s the difference between a job, a career, and a calling?

I’ll tell you.

Last week, I shared an old post about the changes we all go through in life. In the post, I propose we think of these “changes” as “versions” instead — because versions are usually a positive upgrade, while changes are things we sometimes resent.

The reason I re-posted that article after years of having it stashed away in my archives is because I’ve been thinking long and hard about my next “version.”

What is up next for the Marcinator? Where is this journey taking me now? What is life going to look like in a few months? And (most dear to my heart) what am I going to feel like?

In the literal sense, those questions are pretty easy to answer:

In a few months, I’m going to become a mom. Life as I know it will stop revolving around work projects. Life will center around one thing: my little family. Forget Skype and coffee dates with bloggers and clients.

My dates will be with two dudes named JJ.

And while my focus has narrowed, other parts of myself have not. Physically, this belly is getting bigger by the day. My abs have put up an amazing fight, but they’re no match for Baby JJ. After spending six years sweating it out at the gym, living within this new version of myself has been a challenge (albeit a welcome one). Mild workouts are no fun for a P90X-loving gym rat like myself, considering I’ve given up counting reps for counting baby kicks, but I’ve surprised myself at how smoothly I’ve dealt with the changes.

(More here: Transitioning with Self-Compassion)

My life in 2013 is nothing like my life in 2014 — and the changes are only just beginning.

For a while, every part of my life will be altered, including the parts that I enjoy the most. But I will tell you this:

I’m looking forward to this new version of myself more than anything I’ve ever done before. And it all makes perfect sense. There’s a reason why I’m shape-shifting into the next version of myself with so much ease.

There’s a stark difference between a job, a career, and a calling. I’ve cycled through all three a few times, but this may be the last.

Research by some super smart people from super smart institutions explains the difference (source):

  1. Job — focus on financial rewards and necessity rather than pleasure or fulfillment; not a major positive part of life.
  2. Career — instead of money, the focus is on advancement, social standing, and self-esteem; a deeper personal investment in the work.
  3. Calling — focus on enjoyment of fulfilling, socially useful work; work is inseparable from the rest of the person’s life.

Like swimming the breaststroke, I’ve continuously come in and out of each phase. It went something like this:

Begin exploration. Flirt with entrepreneurship by freelancing. Take job. Quit job. Write book. Start company. Get office, team, and clients. Hate it all. Lose control of company. Gain it back. Focus on better clients. Write second book. Fall back into sub-par clients. Start side project. Struggle.

And that’s where I’m at right now.

All in all, it’s been a speck of “job”, a whole lot of “career”, and a little bit “calling”. It’s time for that to change.

Stepping away

Ever since I started my blog in spring of 2010, my life has been a rollercoaster of serendipitous occurences and opportunities. Every single version of myself after that first blog in 2010 has felt like I’ve stumbled into more and more awesome…

But so much of it has felt like a career.

(More here: The Highs And Lows of Following Your Dreams)

In the words of Seneca:

“He who reposes should act and he who acts should take repose. Discuss the problem with Nature; she will tell you that she has created both day and night.”

It’s time for me to put my job and career at rest — at least for now.

In no way do I think raising a child is going to be a time of rest — on the contrary. But I think it’s a good time for me to take a “repose” from the work life and focus on my family instead.

There’s so much more to me than how much money I make or how many powerful CEOs I wow. This next version of me will be a very welcome return to Marcella as I remember her: a person that wears her heart on her sleeve, gives strangely Buddha-like advice, and laughs hard enough to shake the entire couch.

I’ve spent upwards of four years in the daylight, searching for something. I’m still not sure what it is. I didn’t find it doing “work,”  but it’s high time for me to relax into the starry night, into the warming comfort of family, into what makes my soul happy.

Stepping in

So, what comes next? What is the next version of the Marcinator?

One word: calling.

Being employed by your “calling” means focusing on work that is inseparable from “personal” life, feeling joy, fulfillment, and utility.

I want in.

I don’t know what my calling entails or what it will look like, but I know what it will feel like.

I don’t need to know what happens if one of a million potential situations becomes reality. I don’t need to know anything. What needs to happen will happen if I’m following the right compass: my soul.

One foot in front of the other is enough foresight for me.

That said, here’s what I think I’ll be doing:

  1. Putting my company in the hands of my homeslice JJ for a while
  2. Starting a podcast with fellow blogger, Antonella — more info coming soon
  3. Attempting to automate progress on Devise
  4. Dedicating myself to the little human that’s on the way

Some of that will come to pass. Some of it won’t. No big deal. Throughout this process, I’ve felt so much peace. Despite some discomfort from time to time, everything is falling into place.

Another passage from Seneca says it all:

“For love of bustle is not industry, it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind.”

I’d love to hear from you:

When you imagine the next version of yourself, what do you see?

Wishing you awesomeness on this hot day in Managua,

— Marcella