Choosing Must

Hello and welcome back. We are going to continue exploring the Crossroads of Should and Must, the book by Elle Luna that I’ve been reading and enjoying. It’s also causing some anxiety, raising fears, making me feel vulnerable and a lot more. But it’s also reinforcing some beliefs: that this is MY path. This is MY MUST. Read on …

Once you discover your Must, your brain’s most primal, protective center gets alarmed, Elle says. The riot gear is called forth. Defense mechanisms go up. Because choosing Must raises very real questions.

  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • How do I explain any of this?
  • How will I pay the rent? Eat? Pay bills?
  • How long is this going to take?
  • Can I do it with a friend? A team? A peer group?
  • Do my ideas matter?
  • How might I find existing balance between my Must and my existing obligations?
  • How can I find more time?

Let’s be honest here. E V E R Y single one of those questions – and many more – have gone through my mind a gazillion times in the past two years. They still creep into my being more often than I would like. Those niggling doubts that keep me awake at night. Because there are four big concerns people have about achieving their Must. The first one is Money.

What if doing what I love doesn’t pay?

Elle says, correctly, that if you want to live in this planet, you must make money (unless you have a sizeable trust fund!). If you have obligations or a mortgage, you must make more money. If doing what you love doesn’t pay the bills, you must find another way to make money. Period. Being able to pay your bills creates the mental space needed to find your calling.

You might have a nine-to-five job while you pursue your calling on nights and weekends. Or you might focus your energy on your calling full time and make a living. There is dignity in all work. Just because you have a job that allows you to pay the bills does not make it dirty. And just because you want to find your calling does not mean you need to quit your job. You get to decide what’s right for you and your life.

But what you don’t want is to take a job that was intended to pay the bills and suddenly, you don’t have time to explore your passion. And if, for some reason, you forget that money is a game, a make-believe concept that some people invented, you could be led back into the complex layered world of Should. And then the loss is not just a financial one. The cost is you. Is it worth it?

Must-have money vs. Nice-to-have money

Must-have money is a solid, fixed number that we do not want to risk not having: at its most basic it includes food and shelter. Nice-to-have money is extra. Above-and-beyond money. Too often, we confuse Must-have with Nice-to-have. It will always be nicer to have more Nice-to-have money. Beyond the absolutes, money is a gay and you can play it any way you want.

Will choosing Must make me rich? Elle says that the wealthiest people she knows have days and nights filled with life’s most precious items:

  • Smelling the rain
  • Watching the rain
  • Kissing
  • Making tea before bed
  • Remembering all your dreams
  • Taking the long way home
  • And a lot more …

We mentioned 4 concerns: Money we’ve discussed. The second one is Time – and it’s a big stumbling block.

You make time for what you want. Elle says that if you are not prioritizing the things you say you care about, consider the possibility that you don’t actually care about those things. Often, knowing what we want is the hardest part. What do you want? Do you know?

Getting to know what you want requires heightened sensitivity and it starts by staying alert to your wants – little and big. It will heighten your intuition and connect you to that little voice in your head that wants things: crazy things, silly things, quiet things. The more you feed it, the louder it speaks.

It turns out that the more intimate we are with what we want, the more self-aware we will be about how to spend our time.

We all have a net of obligations and time constraints – both real and imagined. The most effective way to find your Must is to find then minutes. While running away from your obligations to have uninterrupted time on your Must sounds romantic, but unattainable perhaps. The more sustainable way is to make shifts every day within your existing reality. To integrate, not obliterate. Finding pockets of time for your Must is a daily effort. Elle mentions some ideas:

  • Ten minutes for the kettle to boil – GO!
  • Ten minutes while you wait for the laundry to dry – GO!
  • Ten minutes of commercials during half an hour of TV – GO!
  • Ten minutes in the carpool – GO!

Time, which could have been a limitation, becomes a gift.

I have an ambition

Alejandro Jodorowsky – a Chilean French filmmaker said: “I have an ambition to live 300 years. I will not live 300 years. Maybe I will live one year more. But I have the ambition. Why you will not have ambition? Why? Have the greatest ambition possible. You want to be immortal? Fight to be immortal. Do it. You want to make the most fantastic art or movie? Try. If you fail, is not important. We need to try.”

I love that. We are so afraid of failure that we fail to try. And we lose the battle before we even start. We deny ourselves hours of pleasurable endeavours because in our search for perfection, we may consider what we created a failure. But each “failure” is a lesson learned. In what worked and what didn’t work. We forget to look at our creation and see dreams fulfilled.

I have an ambition. I have a dream. Not to live 300 years. Not to make millions. My ambition is to help quilters, and artists fulfill their dreams of making art in their own voice, in their own way. This year in February I launched Create2Flourish – just to that effect. It’s ambitious, alright. But it is also part of my Must. 2 years ago I lost my job during the pandemic. And trust me – terror set in. How was I going to make money to pay bills? During a lot of sleepless nights, I realized that I had been given a gift: the opportunity to follow my Must – finally – and follow my passion. I’m not going to lie to you: because it’s how I make a living – it’s a lot of work. 99% of it, it’s happy work. October is coming, and I’m getting ready to re-launch the program. Check it out and join me. By helping me pay my bills, I promise to help you find your Must. We’ll do it together, inside a community of peers, so that’ll be a fear you need not have. You are not alone.

I invite you find 10 minutes in your day to go do something in your To-do list, just for you. And remember the single, small steps. One at a time.

Until I write again, keep creating.


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  1. Thank you for this series of articles, Ana. I am at a point where all the Shoulds are crashing in from every direction. And the simplicity of what I really need is confusing. Lots of thinking to do.

    1. Hi Susanne,
      Glad you are finding them useful. Should and Must is something we all struggle with, me included. This book has helped but … life gets in the way sometimes and all the shoulds take over what we must. Yes, there’s lots of thinking to do and a good balance to be achieved. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week.

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