A KC & The Sunshine Band concert at the House of Blues: this is where I first experienced how having fun helps discover career clarity and purpose. A successful, rising star lawyer, I was out for an evening with friends. What most people didn’t know was that I felt like I was losing in the game of life. I didn’t know who I was. And while I was very good at my job, I felt fear and doubt all the time about whether I was moving in the right career direction. Working in the criminal justice system, I was surrounded by people who woke up every day with passion for their work. Yet, I didn’t feel that sense of clarity or purpose around my career path.
That night at the concert, I locked eyes with this incredible back-up dancer. I couldn’t stop watching her. She was JLo-level awesomeness set to old school disco tunes. She was having fun! It hit me: fun! THAT’s what I needed. I didn’t know what to do with my life, but I knew in that moment, I’d sure love to dance!
I always loved dance. As a little girl I twirled around my living room lost in creating my own FlashDance free-style dance moves to the 80s hits of the day. I tried a dance class once, but dropped out feeling intimidated because I couldn’t pick up the choreography quick like the other girls. In 6th grade, taking matters into my own hands, I choreographed a skit for the school talent show and brought in two other girls to perform with me to Janet Jackson’s then mega hit, Control. In 8th grade, I had a blast as co-captain for the cheerleading and dance squad.
Thereafter, my passion for dance faded into the background due to two tragedies. My mom passed away right before my 8th grade cheerleading competition, so I dropped out. And then when I tried out for cheerleading in high school, I didn’t make the cut. Again, probably because I had trouble picking up on other people’s choreography, the judges didn’t see my talent.
So that night at the KC concert – something awoke inside of me. I wondered “How could I create some of this magical fun in my life now?”
Luckily, at the time, I had a creative and unabashed friend in my life known as “Big Gay Jim.” (The universe always sends us exactly what and who we need.) Jim was following his artistic talents running a small theater company. He put on variety shows and musicals that were performed at the Elbo Room in Chicago. I asked if I could choreograph and perform in a skit in his upcoming show, and forever changing my life, he said “yes.” I had a major role in his next two productions and had So. Much. Fun!!!
Making space in my life at this time for an activity that was purely about having fun offered breaks from the normal stress and turmoil of my career dissatisfaction and uncertainty. I actually felt joy, freedom, and alignment with myself again. It was a taste of the "good life" I saw in others and wanted. Soon after, I left my legal career with clarity and in the direction of my true purpose.
Those several months of performing reminded me about HAVING FUN, and in hindsight I can explain how this helped me open to career clarity + purpose in 3 ways:
First, by having fun I reconnected to myself, my true nature. I began to remember what I loved and what it felt like to just be me unabashedly as a young girl before the world told me who to be. I began to hear the whispers of my heart, and day by day, my heart offered hints and guidance for how to create a career that was consistent with these positive feelings. And so, in being me, I could recognize a new career direction most aligned and purposeful for me.
Second, by having fun and being myself, I began resetting my mind and nervous system for a better way of working. Rather than constant stress and turmoil in a setting that didn't feel true to me, with a fun activity I got to practice being myself and having fun - which is what I wanted in my work life. Indeed, what I've learned and proven over and over in my own career trajectory and in supporting clients as a career coach is that working in your genius zone means exactly that you are "just being you and having fun" and also getting paid for it!
Third, in the measurement of energy, having fun and feeling joy is the highest vibration available. There are lower, less fun vibrations of course like: powerlessness, fear, frustration, and apathy. And while you’re in those lower vibrations, you attract more into your life of that energy (hello unhappy professional life!). When you bring yourself up to the level of joy – through pure fun and play – you begin attracting more positive experiences and opportunities into your life.
And so, if you don’t yet know where you want go in your career, creating space for HAVING FUN is a great place to start. You can simply ask yourself to reflect back to childhood: "what did I love to do then and what does that inspire me to do now?" The task need not in any way appear "productive." Fun truly is the only goal - and fun YOUR WAY. Don't look to others, just to yourself for what brings a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.
Even if today, you feel completly stuck and unclear around your work, setting a date and time for just one dose of fun can help begin a shift toward career clarity + purpose. This is your permission slip: you can create space for HAVING FUN!
About the Author
Hi I'm Gina Marotta, and I can help you step into your higher calling. My unique body of work is about "Feminine Genius" which includes bringing your innate talent + feminine energy (spirituality, creativity, intuition, feelings, and fluidity) into a career focus that changes people's lives for the better. I serve from extensive study in the divine feminine, as well as 20+ years experience as a leader in multiple industries. I have worked professionally as a lawyer, a nonprofit managing director, and an entrepreneur; and I bring all that experience and wisdom to you. You will also find me quoted and interviewed often as a career expert in media outlets like Thrive Global, The Huffington Post, American Bar Association Magazine, Barron's Next Magazine, and WGN Ra