Home » Blogs » Mentoring and Recovery » What is Your REAL Job?

What is Your REAL Job?

An important public service announcement from Elizabeth Gilbert.
An important public service announcement from Elizabeth Gilbert.

I recently started following one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, on Instagram.

Turns out I have a lot more in common with this world-famous, life-changing writer than I realized.

For instance, we both love coffee. And puppies. And cussing. And love.

We are also big fans of creativity, gratitude and kindness for kindness’s sake (whether or not we manage to pull it off on any given day).

And we like colorful things – like flowers and wine and book covers on intriguing books (that we may or may not have written).

But most of all, I think, what we have in common is this:

We understand our “real job” is not the one that pays the bills.

For example, Gilbert shares a graphic on her Instagram that states:

Love this.
Love this.

I love. That’s just what the f*** I do.

So clearly her work as a writer, author, speaker, teacher, shop keeper and all the rest is in service to her real job, which is “to love.”

SO beautiful.

While I am currently hard-put to define my real job so succinctly as Gilbert does, I am working on it. And I know it is not writing, even though I love it the most out of any job I’ve ever done. 

While I would love to say my real job is also to love, I am way more introverted than Gilbert (plus I don’t tour internationally or regularly appear on Oprah, which could kind of solve the introvert issue…in a way).

So for now, I guess I see that more as an aspiration than an actual job.

I am too....or at least I think I am.
I am too….or at least I think I am.

In another of my Insta-favorites, Gilbert shares:

What is my real job? I am in the soul-growing business. As we all should be.

I’m pretty sure I am also in this business – at least when it comes to my own soul. If it ever gets done with its current life-long growth spurt, perhaps I can start on other souls.

But for the time being, as far as a “real job” goes, I am leaning towards “to uplift.”

I feel like, in everything I write, in everything I do, in my relationships, in my own one-to-one time with myself, I am always clinging tightly to the hand of my BFF, upliftment.

I always want to learn more of what it knows, pick up its craft secrets, tap into its seemingly inexhaustible inner supply of hope.

Plus I can say that the joy I feel when I uplift myself, or someone else, or someone or something uplifts me, or a creative idea that pops into my head which simply reeks of uplifting possibilities….it is the best joy ever.

And joy is important, and especially these days, when the world often presents itself as a very serious and even life-threatening place.

But yet one of my favorite spirit-celebs, the Dalai Lama, is laughing joyfully through nearly every interview and in most of his photos. And his laugh – it is infectious in the best possible way.

I love that laugh. I love his deliberate choice towards a smile, which is a touch of simple, shared humanity we can all relate to.

The most serious people in the world – the ones where you think they will suddenly just collapse under all the heaviness they are carting around – struggle not to smile in the Dalai Lama’s presence. And in those moments when they finally cave – well, it is just wonderful to watch, like a sunrise unfolding at a most unusual moment.

The Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Gilbert and many other mentors I regularly turn to for my own upliftment are the living embodiment of how to approach life – even the most serious parts of it – with a light heart, even if what they are approaching or how they are about to interact with whatever or whoever it is isn’t light-hearted at all.

The light heart seems beyond any single moment to the possibility of greater good, greater growth, greater connection, greater upliftment for everyone.

So perhaps that is it – my “real job.” To uplift.

I like it.

Today’s Takeaway: In context with this post, how would you define or describe your own “real job?” If you are not sure yet what your real job is or how to identify it, are there any mentors you can think of who might be able to help?



What is Your REAL Job?

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2015). What is Your REAL Job?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Dec 2015
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.