Funding (vs finding) your purpose

My clients often want to focus on how to make their passion their source of income – and I totally get it! I am so freakin’ psyched that I get to do what I love AND get paid. However, I have been coaching a long time, and let me tell you: there are other options that also lead to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

How do you know when you should look into funding vs finding your purpose?

While there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, one big sign is that you start losing your mojo and passion for your purpose once you start getting paid for it. While this can often be shifted with some mindset alchemy, for some people, the juice simply goes dry when they start “having” to do their work.

What happens next is that people often start judging and berating themselves, saying “Why can’t you just get it together and do this?! You’re so lucky that people even want to pay for this!”

This happened to me when I was a climbing guide. There were several reasons why I moved on, but a main one was that after 10 years of guiding, I started to feel burned out and missed going into the mountains just to play. But I kept putting off leaving because I knew so many people would be stoked to be in my shoes!

Another sign is if you are so stressed about making money from your passion that you are not able to enjoy life. Another way of saying this is that you don’t like being an entrepreneur – not everyone does, and that is absolutely, 100% OK! It can definitely be stressful to not have a reliable paycheck, and for some people, that discomfort is just too much. That does not mean something is wrong with you.

A client of mine loved painting, but when she started to have to paint-on-demand with commissions, and when she started to stress about paying the bills with her art, she lost the joy in her painting and it became super stressful. She was irritable, couldn’t sleep, and realized she was less happy than when she had her previous job and painted in her off-time. She realized she was not into being an entrepreneur, and we designed a lifestyle that would help her have more time for her painting – more time for her passion and purpose. She still sold pieces, but it wasn’t a stressful pursuit.

You have the option to find a livelihood that allows you the time and money to pursue your passions and live your purpose. Some of my clients have found this with massage therapy, being a server at a fun restaurant, teaching, travel nursing…there are definitely options! When you can make the money you need that also gives you the time off to simply DO what you love without stressing what income it can make for you…it can feel so freeing.

That’s what nursing did for me. Working three 12 hour shifts that paid me more than I had ever made working 24-7 as a guide allowed me to travel the world and climb for pure fun. And I loved the ER! It wasn’t my purpose or passion, but I didn’t mind going to work. I had great ER stories to tell while belaying my friends on big walls;) Then I started working as a travel nurse/locums and my freedom opened up even more.

Let me be clear here: This does not mean you should take a job you hate, or one that feels empty of any joy. What I do mean is that it’s OK to take a job that’s good enough – that you find fun and where you enjoy your colleagues – if it allows you more time, money and freedom to truly enjoy your passions!

I know that may sound like heresy in the life coaching world. The phrase “good enough” is to life coaches what the Paleo movement was to vegans. But here’s the difference: I am not saying that you should live a life that is “good enough.” I am saying that it’s OK to have a form of livelihood that’s “good enough” so that you can live a truly epic life.

The type of work that allows you the means and time off to truly live an epic life is not easy to find – but it is out there. The bottom line is don’t fall into another pattern of “shoulding” on yourself thinking the only happy people out there are ones that are making money from their passions.

Another downside of that type thinking is that some people’s life purpose often has nothing to do with a form of income, and if they keep thinking it should, they may totally miss their life purpose all together…

You’ve heard me say “Freedom is a Feeling” over and over. It’s because I know it’s true! Be open to what it might look like for you. What matters is that you feel it.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

Days 32, 33, and 34 – Leaving the JOB

Living Full-On Every DayHow long have you thought about leaving YOUR J.O.B? I say “leaving” and not “quitting” because doing so really isn’t quitting at all. You are simply choosing something different. In any event, I have wanted to leave for so long. SO DAMN LONG. I love catching babies, and I love midwives, and I love my clients, and I really do dig being a baby catcher. Alas, I do not dig being an employee.

Not because my job sucked. My job rocked! As did the people I worked with. But I just don’t do well when I’m not doing my own thing. On my own terms. At least most of the time;) I even went part-time more and more over the years. But, my soul spoke louder because, frankly, it was not enough.

So I quit! Ah. Big breath.

This does not mean I am never ever going to catch another baby. But I need more freedom in my life to live out the other things that excite me as well. I am now going to be more FREE to embrace the speed at which Freedom Junkie is growing, and spread the love of radiant inner confidence so people can live their dreams. And I get to continue to live my dreams, my life, on my terms.

As my partner said when he toasted me last night, “Welcome to the free world.” Indeed.

More risky? Yes. Worth it? For me, it is.

You see, I’ve been in the “free world” the majority of my adult life. I had been a climbing guide for 10 years living in the wilderness and out of my car as I traveled the world. I have also spent years working in various clinics and hospitals, piecing together three or four different sites so that I could make my own schedule. Yes, that was more of a pain, but it was worth it for me at the time. My recent career as a midwife was the first time I ever had a kind of “normal” j.o.b. and even then it was pretty amazing and unique. It had lots of freedom within it as well. So yes, I was used to the free world.

Someone once said to me (lovingly), “You, Ana, are a special case.” LOL. Indeed. And us “special cases” can’t be put into special cases. We need to bust out of them. Some people like special cases and they make nice beds for themselves and sleep soundly. Safe and secure. And they LOVE it! But me, I like being free and running around naked etc., even if it means I might get cuts and bruises where I prefer not to. I like to sleep on the ground, under the stars (literally and figuratively). I sleep better after a day of hunting and gathering, if you will, than after the grocery store. So I took the risks to be free. And it was awesome!

But then I got cancer. And then I got booted from every potential insurers “Please come be our client” list. Then I got divorced.

Then I got scared.

So I took a J.O.B., and I gave thanks every day that bringing babies into the world and caring for mamas and their families was such a fulfilling and rewarding career, and that where I worked generally celebrated my special case-ness (I know…not a real word). I enjoyed my safe bed and the secure sleep for a little while. It was worth sacrificing some freedom when I was scared. And I still think it was a good decision. When you’re scared, it is important to take care of yourself. But after a while, you need to step back out and take risks again. I was getting too comfy. And for me that was, frankly, boring.

Not everyone feels this boredom when things are predictable. When I see people who are honestly OK with predictable, I notice that it is usually because they are in fact living their dreams – which happen to also fit in with a predictable world. But my dreams never have fit quite so well into the predictable.

On the flip side, I think a lot of people do feel this boredom as well. It is there when you pause and take inventory of the NOW. What you are doing, and what you’d rather be doing. Finally, I couldn’t be OK with what I was saying “No” to while I was saying “Yes” to security. Until the balance got tilted in that direction, it worked for me, bu after that, I couldn’t be OK with it anymore. So I quit.

I am very aware I am giving up a coziness in career that many people long for. However, I am thrilled over the moon to regain my freedom. Security has its perks, but freedom – for me – has many more.

I’m not saying this is for everyone. Peeps need to do what makes THEM happy. And for me, it is worth it to take the risks of not having an externally guaranteed paycheck (and, ahem, many have learned that isn’t a sure-thing either) so that I can live with fewer regrets.

And if I regret this decision? I guess I’ll go back and get another J.O.B. But something tells me that is highly unlikely, and hell, you HAVE to do it scared anyway. I’ve learned through lessons I hope you will never have to experience that “What ifs” are a bunch of B.S. and you do NOT want to wonder that every day of your life. Life is too short.

(Oh, and the Full On 365 recap for the past few days? Day 32: Fully – and finally – purging my house of 6 boxes of books and 3 boxes of clothes and tossing hundreds of pounds of clutter. Amen. And if you can believe it, I can STILL toss more stuff. Clearing this clutter has been a HUGE part of living Full On that I’d been putting off. Now I have more energy as a result. Which means more Full On days;) Day 33: Deciding I would make some big decisions on my own, without waiting for my partner to decide anything or for some magical event to occur, and talking to my partner about all that in a way that left me vulnerable and strong at the same time. Day 34: Quit the job;)

Full On.


Note: Ana Neff is known as the Freedom™ Mentor. She helps individuals awaken their lives, their businesses and their success with radiant inner confidence. Her monthly Freedom Junkie eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting