The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow your Passion

Posted March 1, 2016 in Career Management, Decision Making, Self-Insight, What We're Reading

Written by: Elle Luna

Review by: Julie Melaschenko

The Premise: : This short, easy-to-read, illustrated journal/workbook is the brainchild of San Francisco artist Elle Luna. Based on her wildly popular viral essay on, this book describes her journey from long days as a successful app developer to the moment she stood at her personal crossroads. While she enjoyed what she did in her day-to-day, she couldn’t help but feel pulled by an inner desire to express herself in a different, more fulfilling way. Inspired by a recurring dream, she followed her instincts and through a series of questions and some soul-searching, she realized she needed to explore the differences between her job, her career, and her calling. Luna outlines the questions she investigated which defined all the ‘shoulds’ in her life – the things that were dictated to her, and the questions that helped her find her ‘musts’ – things that motivated her from her core and her creative self. At this personal crossroad, Luna explores all the what-ifs, barriers and pitfalls that might happen when choosing ‘must’, time, money, vulnerability and space, among others. With an authentic tone and a personal, chatty style, the book is loaded with thoughtful illustrations, quotes and anecdotes that encourage the reader on their own journey.

The Bottom-line: Right off the bat, it has to be said that this is a very quick easy read. I came across the AltSummit talk given by Elle Luna and was struck by her story. Intrigued, I sought out the book and read it in one sitting, and I’ve read it again since. Books like this appeal to me because, the older I get, the more I feel it’s important to honour one’s true calling. I also feel like I’ve stood at a crossroads before and chose ‘should’, not to any great tragedy, not at all, but I often think of the path not taken. What this book made me realize was, this path not taken, it still an open path. Luna states quite realistically that we all can’t throw in the towel and move to a studio loft to paint full-time, but we can highlight and incorporate this yearning into our daily life to get greater satisfaction. And who knows, once we are open to more possibilities regarding our hidden talents, we might find we can integrate this ‘calling’ into our ‘job’, and maybe over time merge the two. Is there something you love to do that you can incorporate into your job? Luna believes it’s possible when you acknowledge your desires and have the courage to act on them – choosing must.

Roundtable Rating: recommended for leaders who have an inner calling that needs a voice and some guidance for those who may find themselves at the personal crossroads of should and must.

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