Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

003: How to Chase a Dream without Quitting Your Job [Podcast]

Ever struggled to chase a dream without flaking out on your friends? Or wanted to pursue a passion but you were worried about getting fired? Welcome to the tension.

Chasing a dream

Photo Credit: kevinschoenmakers via Compfight cc

It’s one thing to talk about quitting your job to go do what you love and quite another to walk out the process in real life.

In this episode of the Portfolio Life podcast, I debunk the myths of pursuing a passion and share what it really takes.

I also answer listener questions about how to hustle on a side project while still holding down a day job, why work-life balance is a myth, and what I advocate instead.

Plus some more fun stuff…

Click to listen


How to chase a dream without quitting

Pablo Ellsworth asked this question on my Facebook page:

How do you hustle when you have a family or full-time job?

Having held down a full-time job for two years while chasing a dream on the side, I can empathize with this struggle. It can feel downright impossible to balance your work life with your family while pursuing a passion. But it is possible.

Here’s how:

  1. Acknowledge the season you’re in. There’s a difference between a 55-year-old empty-nester building a business and a young entrepreneur trying to raise a family. Wherever you are, don’t compare what you’re trying to do with what someone else has already done. Give yourself grace and acknowledge the season of life you’re in.
  2. Adjust your mindset. Most people think that if they could balance everything — work, family, personal time — then it would all work out. Let me be the bearer of bad news: balance is a myth. Sometimes, you will work more than you play or spend more time at the office than at the dinner table. These things happen. What’s important is to have a series of buckets you regularly fill without giving too much attention to just one thing.
  3. Do the work. Don’t make your greatest supporters your worst enemies. In other words, build a community of people to come alongside in the journey. Make sure you practice in public. If you’re a writer, start a blog. If a musician, take up street performing. Do something generous that will get your work noticed and force you to grow.

How do you actually do this? I mean, all of this? Slowly and intentionally.

Frequency is more important than quantity. Small steps add up to something substantial over time. Put the hours in, trust the process, and the results will come… eventually.

Remember that life is a process of managing tension. That’s what a portfolio life is all about: not focusing too much on one thing and recognizing your many gifts and opportunities.

Just don’t forget to breathe every once in a while.


Got a question?

In this episode of the podcast, we also talked about why you need an email list, what it takes to build one, and how to get started with email marketing (which is the best way to reach more people, in my experience).

Over the next several months, I intend to answer more questions from listeners, so if you have any send me an email with “Podcast Question” in the subject line.

And if you are enjoying the podcast so far, please be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes (which helps more people find out about it).

What tensions are you currently managing? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Marcio Coelho

    Another great episode. I’m loving this podcast idea. Keep going, my friend 🙂

  • You hit the nail on the head. Managing the tension of full time employment and part time platform building is challenging. I run a professional police department by day and cartoon, paint, write and blog at night. And be a husband, father, son to an aging mother, brother and friend. It’s the artistic, creative passion that gets me up at dawn to toil at my passion. Even in a challenging “season” it is possible to move forward, closer to your dreams.

  • “Frequency is more important than quantity.” 15 minutes every morning or on my lunch break helps me make great progress in my writing. For me, there also exists the call to write, not just the desire, and that compels me to answer.

  • There’s power in doing something for just a few minutes, but I had to learn to celebrate those few minutes instead of “not enough”-ing them. I always wanted to do more than I had time to do, and resented my job because I felt like it was getting in the way. It took a lot of introspection to appreciate my job as the vehicle that finances my dream until my dream can fund itself. It’s still not a perfect relationship, but it’s workable and I’m very grateful for where I am now.

  • Walk it out one day at a time and the results will come. Thanks for sharing such rich content. I’m glad you decided to podcast.

  • Love this. As a full time engineer, building my songwriting/musical dream is always an interesting challenge. thanks for the thoughts!

  • John

    Great message today. Thank you for presenting it. I too have the tension of my regular employment (which I think is valuable) and working my blog and artistic side at the same time. I am closer to the 55 year old empty-nester in your example, but have not made the jump to being a full-time writer, but it is an aspiration.
    Thanks for all you do!

    • Kathleen Krueger

      Don’t let go of the aspiration. It’s very doable. I did it at 54.

  • Oh, me!
    A husband who always wanted to retire and just dribble out life, playing…
    A vision for being a granny who crochets baby blankets and creates quilts…
    A feeling of being called to expand my original Bible study into book format, to reach more than just our church…
    Being a pastor’s wife…
    Wanting to live the homemade life, taking good care of my health, etc….
    You name it; it’s pulling at me.

  • Michelle King Eigemann

    I like many others work full-time, while carrying a full time school schedule, not to mention the fact that I am a single mother of 2 and a new blogger. http://www.allmichelleking.com

    I now carry a note book around with me so if i’m sitting at my desk and inspiration strikes I can quickly jot it down and come back to it later.

    Writing is my passion and without that passion running through my veins getting through the mundane would be next to impossible.

    Thanks for all you do Jeff not only does it inspire but it also encourages us to keep on chasing our dreams, whatever they may be.

    • The habit of note taking is life changing!

  • Kathleen Krueger

    “practice in public” What a great way to say it! No one becomes the star of a broadway show without ever having stepped on a stage before.

  • Heather

    Love the statement: balance is a myth. Sometimes you do have seasons of more work than play. Thanks, that’s freeing.

  • Susan Sage

    Is there another way to hear these podcasts. I have been unable to download iTunes though I have tried. I want to be able to hear these podcasts but am having difficulty. Any suggests?

    • Yeah, you can listen on the player on this page or click the download link. Should be available on Stitcher soon.

  • Pingback: Top Picks Thursday 04-24-2014 | The Author Chronicles()

  • Eldad Karni

    Hey Jeff, Great podcast but it’s hard for me to find a way to work on my business. You see, I’m going to the army in 3 months for 3 long years, and I really wanna start a business but I’m afraid it will die the moment I’ll go. I can reschedule my draft to 6-8 months more but I don’t know if I should do it and start building my business or to go as soon as I can so I could finish it and start my life.
    Any thoughts or tips on the subject?
    Sorry for the long post.

  • Susan Sage

    If this is 003, what were 002 and 001…I want to make sure I didn’t miss them

  • Thanks for the great encouragement, Jeff! The hypothetical person you described “25 yr-old who is newly married, has a new baby, and is trying to also pursue his dreams while holding down a full-time job…” is exactly me! (Except a few years older 🙂
    My wife & I have been in this together since the beginning, but I’m finding that the more I actually ASK for her help instead of trying to figure something out by myself, the more forward momentum we gain. Plus, we become all the more united toward making the dream a reality. I just wanted to tell everyone that this advice of building bridges with your community really works!

  • Nikitah Luse

    I’ve only recently started listening to your podcast, but I’m loving it! I’ve been writing for years (since I was thirteen) but after my first rejection letter and life went crazy I put my dream on hold. Now I’ve committed to picking it back up again. I’m finding it’s a lot harder than I remember it being! My main problem isn’t really inspiration but motivation, and I think your blog is helping me find that. The process is still agonizingly slow, but I hope to have something for my fans to read soon. Thank you for making this journey just a little easier.