How To Pursue Your Passions Beyond The 9-to-5

In our society, there is a common belief that what you do for work defines you and determines your worth and fulfillment in life. We often judge ourselves and others based on their job title, salary, or career accomplishments. These external markers are often considered the only indicators of success and happiness. It’s often hinted that a life routine that is largely built around nine-to-five work should be something that terrifies you. In this type of routine, you’re wasting away your life as you’re not there to pursue your passions.

Claims as such are there to give the reader a good shake or a wake-up call to take action. In reality, they can cause a lot of harm on many levels:

  • By becoming the catalyst for reckless and hasty decisions
  • Undermine a person’s overall confidence and opinion of themselves
  • Leading to the frustration of being stuck with no options. Even if you would have the courage to do a U-turn in your career, you may have financial or personal commitments that keep your hands tied

Work is only one aspect of our lives

There are 168 hours in a week. On average, an employed person spends 40 of them on their day job, with an additional 5-10 hours on the commute. So, the reality is that what you do for work is only one aspect of your life. To see it as something that defines you as an individual or determines your worth and fulfillment is a vast exaggeration. When thinking in hours, I could also claim that your worth and fulfillment are determined by your sleep. Of the 168 hours in a week, you should ideally spend 56 of them sleeping.

It’s important to remember, that you are a complex being with many different aspects of your identity. This includes your relationships, hobbies, values, and personal achievements. Your worth comes from within, from your inherent value as a human being, and from the positive impact you have.

At the end of the day, work is simply a means to an end. It’s a way to provide for yourself and your family. It can be fulfilling to find work that aligns with your passion and values, it is not the only path to a fulfilling life.

You can find fulfillment and purpose outside of work by pursuing personal interests and hobbies and volunteering in your communities. This could mean building meaningful relationships with loved ones and finding ways to contribute to society in other ways. Find meaning in personal accomplishments, such as completing a marathon, learning a new skill, or writing a book. After all, you have around 60 hours every week that are not regulated by sleep or a job.

Take the leap to pursue your passions

The idea of quitting their day job and pursuing a life of freedom and purpose may seem like an appealing fantasy at first glance. However, the reality is that this lifestyle is not feasible or desirable for everyone. In fact, for many people, it may not even be an option due to obligations and responsibilities. These can be a partner, kids, mortgages, and other financial or personal commitments.

Every now and then you hear about 20-something individuals who quit their jobs and sell everything to follow their dreams. It can be frustrating and even discouraging if you cannot pursue such a lifestyle. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy or failure. As though you are not living up to societal expectations of what a fulfilling life should look like.

See opportunities instead of limitations

Having responsibilities and obligations does not mean that you cannot live a fulfilling and purposeful life. Yes, it means that your options are different than those of a person who hasn’t got responsibilities. At the same time, they may not have the same financial stability and security as you have. This can provide a sense of freedom and flexibility. Having a stable job and financial security can provide the foundation necessary to pursue a purpose-driven life without the added stress of taking big risks.

This may involve working a safe job while pursuing interests and passions outside of work. Think volunteering or starting a side business. This approach can provide financial stability while also allowing you to explore your interests and passions. With time and persistence, these side businesses can grow into something that allows you to make a shift from a day job to your passion.

Directing your focus to explore your passions can lead to the realization that you could exchange your existing safe day job. You could work for a company that is more aligned with your values and interests.

Putting the eggs into one basket

The hustle gurus often claim that in order to be truly successful you need to have full dedication to the business. Playing it safe by still maintaining your nine-to-five routine means that you’re not all-in. Your head will not be in the “Do or die” mindset. This is because you know that if things don’t work out, nothing bad really happens. You will still have your safety net.

It’s true that working under pressure can boost the results. It activates the neurochemical called noradrenaline. However, too much pressure will lead to a subconscious fear that paralyzes your mind. Knowing that you must give everything you’ve got leaves you with no room for error. Having no buffer and room to play around will actually start limiting your options to analyze. The decisions made in such a state are often hasty and irrational. This can eventually lead to doom.

Finding ways to explore your passions and work on a side business while having the day job as a safety net is not a lack of dedication. It’s a sign of responsibility and maturity in balancing out the aspects of your life. It’s a sign of knowing how to be patient instead of forcing progress at a maximum speed. The safety net allows you to afford to go slow.

How to pursue your dreams while maintaining a day job?

Be mindful of your time and energy

As I mentioned earlier, you have around 60 hours every week that are not regulated by your daily job or nightly sleep. Some of them may be non-negotiable because of other responsibilities you have – kids, pets, relatives, health. Subtract those to find out how much potential free time you really have. It all comes down to how you spend those hours.

Set clear goals

Once you have determined the amount of energy and time you have to spend, define the goals you want to reach with those hours. It may begin with preparation in the form of self-reflection. Understanding what is important to you can help you determine how you want to proceed and what would bring fulfillment in your life. You may make it a goal to spend the first three weeks discovering your true passions.

Create a plan

Once you have identified your goals, create a plan for achieving them. This may involve finding ways to integrate your passions into your current job, pursuing education or training to develop new skills, or taking steps to start your own business. Be open to adjusting your goals and plans as needed, and be willing to take risks and try new things to achieve your desired balance.

Practice self-reflection

Taking time to reflect on your life and your experiences can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your values. It can help you identify areas where you want to grow and develop. This can involve journaling, meditation, or simply taking time to think and reflect on your experiences.

Seek new experiences

Trying new things can be a great way to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. This can include exploring new hobbies, taking on new responsibilities at work, or volunteering in your community. By exposing yourself to new experiences, you can learn and grow in ways that you may not have anticipated.

Additionally, new experiences outside your comfort zone can challenge any boundaries you have created for yourself over the years. People with a growth mindset are proven to feel more fulfillment in their lives

Embrace the lifelong learning

Learning is a lifelong process, and there are many opportunities to continue learning and growing even within the context of a stable job. This can include taking courses or workshops, attending conferences or seminars, or reading books or articles on topics of interest. By embracing lifelong learning, you can challenge yourself to expand your knowledge and skills and become aware of new aspects of yourself.

Go all in to pursue your passions

Going all-in on a business idea while maintaining a safe day job can be a challenging balancing act, but it is possible. Remember that you can apply the same dedication and obsession as you would if you didn’t have your other obligations and responsibilities. Create a timeline with specific goals for your business idea to execute within the hours you determined before. This will keep you focused and disciplined and allows you to build the momentum to make progress on the business.

As the idea grows and becomes more viable, you may be able to gradually shift more of your time and energy towards it, while still maintaining the safety net of your day job. Ultimately, the key is to be intentional and strategic in your approach and to stay committed to your vision and goals.


In conclusion, finding a balance between stability and fulfillment is a personal journey that requires careful consideration and planning. It is possible to have both a stable job and a purpose-driven life, but it may require creativity, flexibility, and a willingness to take risks. When you shift your mindset from seeing your obligations and responsibilities as restrictions to seeing them as opportunities, you free yourself from frustration. Going slow and safe doesn’t reduce your chances of being successful in your pursuits but the reduced amount of stress gives you an advantage that can take you much further.