Resisting The Grunt Work Can Be A Bad Sign…


In my last post, I talked about how putting in the grunt work is what differentiates the great performers from good performers (doesn’t matter what field you’re in–could be music, could be accounting, could be a performer for Cirque du Soleil). I want to talk quickly about a personal example of this idea in practice–how resisting the grunt work was a bad sign for me.

Before I focused on teaching and performing music I had a corporate job. It was a nice job in marketing and the folks there were great, but as the years went on, I realized that something just wasn’t right with me. I knew that I needed to put in the extra work to improve my skills, but it just never happened. I now realize this was a symptom of my body ‘rejecting’ the work. You know how your body will reject things like organ transplants? Something similar to that was going on with me, just on a career level. It was like my body was rejecting the career path I was on–I just didn’t realize it at first. (I now know this in hindsight; I had no clear idea of it at the time, I just knew that something was wrong.)

I first became aware that something was going on when I was really, really resistant to the extra work that was involved with keeping myself current on the job. Going to conferences, doing my homework, keeping myself current on what was going on in the industry, etc. This is what I refer to as the ‘grunt’ work that I was resisting.

I’m not a lazy person, and I felt very guilt-ridden about this extra work not getting done. However, over time I developed a huge resistance to this work–it was almost like doing that extra, grunt work was going to make me scream. And THAT (finally) was the first major clue I had that something was very, very wrong and I needed to figure out a plan to get out.

Over time (we’re talking months, years) I finally figured out that that work was not what I was put here to do. So, I moved from being a regular, full-time worker to working freelance for them so I could figure out what I was really put here to do (which I now know to be teaching and performing music).

So, in my case, being resistant to doing the extra, ‘grunt work’ was a sign that not all was right with me and that job. Has something like this ever happened to you? Where your body figured out that something was wrong before your brain did?

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