A couple of years ago I began an apprenticeship as a dog trainer. I love all things dog, I loved the apprenticeship and to this day I love learning about training and how dogs’ brains work. The natural progression after the apprenticeship finished was to start working as a trainer. I had two years of training and a certification to back me up (way more than alot of trainers have, since the industry is unregulated, but, I digress, this is not the point of the post). I started up a business and actually got quite a few clients! The issue, however, is that I always felt like I was pushing myself to “fit” into this rigid “dog trainer” box that I don’t fit into.
I’m not a natural teacher. I don’t have that bubbly personality that attracts people to me, and, quite frankly, I’m sort of awkward (understatement of the year). While I can say all sorts of things quite elegantly when it comes to writing, I stumble over my words and forget half of what I would like to say in person. Was I still a good trainer? Yes. I’m thankful everyday for the excellent education I received. Perhaps this is what made my decision to (temporarily?) stop training even more difficult. Eventually, however, I got a little sick of trying to fit into the “trainer” box, when that clearly is not me. And so, I decided it was time for a change and announced I would not be accepting any new training clients.
I don’t buy into the “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life” mindset. I think no matter what you do, there will be days when you don’t really love your job or would rather not be working. That’s life. But I do think (and I especially believe this if you’re working a side gig) that you shouldn’t be dreading what you’re doing. For myself, personally, when I try to fit myself into a box that I don’t belong in I find myself dreading things. I was dreading emails from potential clients and dreading appointments – the very things I should’ve been looking forward to! This is no way to live! I’ve spent my time since thinking of how I can combine my passions and talents as well as increasing my education. It’s been both freeing and confusing. It can be difficult to even find the road less traveled, let alone traverse down it. It can take longer than we expect and certainly longer than we’d like, but it’s an incredibly worthwhile road.
So today I’d like to kindly suggest to you that you do NOT have to fit into that box. Whether it is a box that other people have constructed through their expectations and assumptions or whether it is a box that you’ve created through visions and ideals. You are more than that box. You owe it to yourself to set that box aside (even for a little while) and see who you can be outside of that box.
Because I’ll bet it’s someone pretty darn amazing.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever decided to stop forcing yourself to fit into a certain box? Is this something that you maybe need to do now?