Using Feeling to Guide Our Work

by Ingrid Schaffenburg

October 2014

As you can probably tell from last month’s post, I’m a huge advocate of following your dreams. Don’t know why I’m so passionate about it except for the fact that my parents were artists and they set a pretty good example for me that you could indeed make a living by following your passion. Which is probably why I ran kicking and screaming from every desk/corporate/uninspiring job I ever had. 

Like most creatives though, it took me years to be in a position where I could support myself doing what I love. And since I've recently embarked on a really exciting project, unlike any I've been involved in before, I feel like I've reached a whole new level of understanding of what it takes to "get there,” and I want to share that with you.

Deep down, I'd love nothing more than for all of us to find the place where we really belong. To find the work that makes our hearts sing. If that were to happen, this world would be a much better place to live in because we'd all be in our happy place.

So what is this astounding revelation? In regards to work, don't do what·you love; just do what feels good. If you're lucky, the two will align.

It may sound simplistic to some, but this is a huge part of what Anita Moorjani tells us in Dying to be me, the book she wrote based on her near death experience after battling cancer for four years. Personally, I can't think of a better person to take life advice from than someone who faced death head on. The inspiring message she took from this miraculous experience is that life all comes down to feeling.

Confused? Let me clarify.

I’ve done writing jobs that at first seemed so ideal. Work from home, on my own time, make some easy money.

Um… no. I love writing but turns out that writing about dentures and Doubletrees are for me akin to working in property management all over again. It made me want to tear my hair out on a daily basis. But write about what I want on my own time? Yes. That I can do all day long. That feels good.

I love to perform and be on stage. But as an actress, I did not enjoy memorizing lines. Now, give me room to improvise and we're golden. Which is why being a host feels good to me and also happens to be something I love.

Another good way to look at it is: does this work feed me, or do I feel like the life has been sucked out of me by the end of the day? Ideally, we want our work to feed us so that we, in turn, are able to feed it and the world around us with good, positive energy.

Everything starts off as an idea until we experience it. Then, once we experience it, we may find that it’s completely different than what we expected. We may find that what we thought would be the best job ever actually doesn’t feel good at all on a daily basis. And are we really going to spend the majority of our waking lives doing something that doesn’t make us feel good?

Where things tend to get a bit sticky is in the hanging on to what we thought we wanted. We've often times come too far to admit we aren't enjoying what we're doing so we become hell bent on making it work. All those dollars spent on tuition, the years working our way up the corporate ladder, or the promises we’ve made others and ourselves. But when it comes down to it, if it don’t feel right, it ain’t the right fit, and we owe it to ourselves to find what works.

Ingrid Schaffenburg is a Dallas-based writer and television host who has a passion for helping others lead fuller, richer, more joyful lives. She holds a BS in journalism from Texas Christian University and has worked in entertainment for more than a decade. Her show, Wild about Barns, airs in January 2015. She currently blogs at