126. The Joy of Being Mediocre (hobby without the hustle)

As moms who want to have hobbies and do things they love we get bogged down with notions that we have to monetize our hobby, or that we have to be exceptional at it. We almost use these as measurements to determine if this hobby is ‘worth it’ in the time, energy, and money it could involve. 

I want to pitch the Joy of Being Mediocre and how it can unhook the hustle from the hobby and allow enjoyment to come into the hobby rather than expectation. 

Full episode transcript is available at the end of this post


Monetizing hobbies

We are living in an age where we are constantly consuming images, captions, and videos of people creating amazing things. 

We are also connecting the dots that it is their industry as well

Modern career advice tells us to follow our passions and turn our hobbies in jobs. 

But there a flip-side to this industrialization of our hobbies:  our hobbies don’t NEED to be monetized, and (gasp) we don’t even need to be that great at them. 


How we have lost touch with our passions and our hobbies

Over the years we see a trend of learning that The Best being the ones who get the praise and we need to fade back into the shadows.  Then we pour ourselves into our jobs where we find ‘success’. 

Then we turn to hobbies to find some satisfaction in our lives – and we set ourselves up for frustration because we just want to be GREAT at it, NOW.  When we are great at it, then we tell ourselves it is ‘worth it’


What is ‘worth the effort’ when it comes to pursuing hobbies as a mom?

This is especially tricky for moms. What is ‘worth it’ as a mom who wants to spend time, money, and energy on her hobbies.  We measure ‘worth it’ by how WONDERFUL we are at it and how likely it is we could monetize it. 


Letting go of the pressure to hustle our hobbies

Enjoyment is available of pretty much anything when we give ourselves the freedom ‘hobby without the hustle’. 

When we let go of that hustle, we welcome in relaxed enjoyment. 

Being mediocre is the cost of getting skilled at something, so we might as well enjoy it


Being a mom who ‘tries things’ that she is not ‘good’ at

My kids have witnessed me, over the years, being very mediocre at various pursuits. And, most importantly, not being mad about it or deciding to quit trying new things. 


Reasons why someone might be out of touch with their hobbies/interests/passions:

  • They want to be good at it
  • They need a lot of instruction on how it has to look so they can check the boxes that they are ‘doing it right’
  • They don’t feel confident to try
  • They don’t want to commit, out loud, cause then they might feel pressured to actually do it
  • They aren’t sure if it will be ‘worth it’ – for whatever kind of outcome they are using to measure what make it ‘worth it’
  • And they have lost touch with what would be interesting to them, they stopped listening to themselves and the weird and wonderful way they are made to experience their life


Ways to get in touch with what is interesting to you:

  • What did you love to do as a kid?
  • What do you always say you want to try? (what supplies have you bought over the years and never used them?)
  • What looks interesting this season?
  • What are you pinning on pinterest?


A side note about secretly hoping you can monetize your hobby

If you have the secret motive that ‘maybe I could monetize this’ I encourage you not to sit on the fence and actually decide if you want to go ALL IN and build it a business – or if you want to let go of the motives and simply enjoy your hobby.

In this episode, I share a bit more of how that looked for me when I decided to start a blog ten years ago and how I wrestled with it being a ‘hobby’ vs a business. 


The Joy of Being Mediocre

We are here for the PROCESS of doing/creating/sorting/digging/moving and EXPERIENCING  

This isn’t about escaping your life or seeking pleasure at the cost of your values but rather it is about trading in the chase of success and false pleasures for the experience of enjoying our lives. 

In this episode, I am sharing a list of my own Mediocre Pursuits!

Hobbies should be:

  • Fun
  • Restful
  • Make us feel connected to our life and surroundings
  • Make us feel connected to ourselves
  • Not an exercise in productivity or perfection, rather an exercise in unhooking from it
  • Whatever seems interesting this season, they don’t have to be life long commitments 


What will you do this week to bring in the Joy of Being Mediocre?

I want to know, come share it in the Simple on Purpose Facebook Community (THE SIMPLE SQUAD!)



Full Transcript

If you are new here, welcome. I am Shawna, I’m a mom of three. I’m a trained life coach, I have a diploma in cognitive behavioral therapy. And I am here to help you simplify your home, your heart, your life, and start to show up and do things on purpose. Simple on purpose. And I used to have a parenting blog before called dovetail blog, man, that’s old school. But simple on purpose started about six years ago, when I realized I was allowed to get rid of the things in my house I didn’t want or need, which meant my entire basement didn’t have to be this glorified storage unit anymore. It could be a space that we use, and we play. But decluttering It was not easy. And like I ugly, cried amongst those boxes throughout that decluttering process, because I was also also doing the emotional decluttering. That emotional work of decluttering my life and my heart because I was seeing that I was building up this life I thought would make me successful and happy. But instead it just drained me, I could see that I was building up my life on autopilot. And I did not like where that autopilot was heading. Because it was not looking good for my relationships, my health, my home and my parenting. So I decided to make some changes, turn off the autopilot, get very intentional in the life that I wanted and how I was going to get it. So here we are together spending time each week to pause, slow down, think about the things that really matter to us to you specifically, and make more room for them. And today, I’m going to talk about hobbies. And just stay with me here, this isn’t gonna be like, frivolous and distract yourself with hobbies. But I have one big pitch about us finding the joy in being mediocre at things.

this present moment in time is really fascinating. Like the connections we have the reach online, the knowledge that’s just available to us. We live in this age where every day, any time of the day, you can go online, and you can see what people are doing millions of people around the world you can see the work that you’re doing. And we consume these images and captions and videos about homes and DIY eyes and designs and creations and it’s inspiring, right? But we’re also seeing that it’s an industry, these exceptional talents and voices are now businesses. And for sure That is amazing. Like when else in history, have people been able able to follow their passions and monetize it. When else in history Did you hear terms related to a career like use your gifts, do what you love, follow your passion the world wants what you have, What’s your dream, turn your hobby into a job. I know for me 20 years ago, and I was graduating, this was not the career advice that I received. And if this advice has worked for you, so great, like I love to hear that. But I want to address the other side of the coin. The other side that says our passions don’t need to make us money, that our passions are something we don’t even need to be amazing at. And I’m guilty of this too. But our passions don’t need their own Instagram account and following. And when I say passion, I mean that very generic term of hobbies, you enjoy things you like doing things, you can get a little lost in things that make you feel more in touch with yourself, your surroundings. And most of us have lost touch with our passions and our hobbies. I think for most of us who grew up in a North American culture, we can see this trend, that over the years of being an adolescent, we noticed that the ones who were the best are the ones who got the praise, and the rest of us should just fade into the shadows wander around looking for what we are the best at. And then as adults, we look at hobbies and passions as something that’s childish, or frivolous, and we withdraw from them. And we focus on our successes, mostly our job. And now we’re a bit older, and our job is kind of drudgery. And we start wondering what’s going to light us up, what can we find fulfillment in? What can we feel successful at or enjoy. And so maybe we’re gonna try some hobbies again. But for most of us, we just want to be great at them right away. The goal of that hobby is to see how wonderful we can be at it. Because if we’re wonderful, we’re valuable. And if we’re wonderful, it’s worth our efforts. And I think this is especially tricky for moms, what is worth our effort? What does society tell us is worth our efforts. Are we allowed to put our kids in daycare so we can go play soccer? Can we ask our husband for a morning or

away from the kids. So we can go sit at the river and paint. Can we spend money, family money on supplies and lessons for something we don’t plan to make money off of? Do we always have to choose motherhood above all else, unless that’s something else actually makes us money. And I just asked these questions because I have been someone over the years who has spent the first half of my career online, pretty much paying to play, like paying for all of the hosting fees and the email services. Because I wanted to write, I wanted to write things online. I was taking time away from my family, I wasn’t making money. But I just had this deep drive to keep writing and sharing. And I would have missed out on so much growth, and enjoyment, and community, and ultimately leading me into a career as a life coach, I would have missed out on that if I decided at that time, I should be making money at this right now. I should be better at this, I should be a better writer, or this is too hard. Or the one that we just kind of default to isn’t really worth it. These are the myths we have to bust for ourselves in order to level up how we engage in our own lives. Because enjoyment of pretty much anything is available when you let go of how good you need to be, and let go of the need to make money on your free time and your passions. Not to say it won’t work. And not to say it’s wrong to turn your hobby into a side hustle, but simply to give you the freedom to hobby without the hustle. Because when you let go of that need to hustle, what sneaks in through the back door is relaxed enjoyment relaxed enjoyment takes a seat at the table. And if being mediocre at something is a rite of passage towards becoming skilled at something, let’s at least enjoy it. Over the years, I decided to bring back enjoyment without strings into my life. I really realized how complacent I had been with my life. And I wanted to feel passionate about my experience of my life, my daily life at home with my kids. And I started to see that I have the ability to create things do things that light me up in the simplest ways. I wanted to try things. And I wanted to show my kids I was trying things, which meant I had to let go of all of the reasons I told myself how my kids held me back from hobbies and my passions and doing the things that I’m interested in.

I remember about five years ago, I was trying hoop embroidery, another one of those things I’ve been mediocre at. And my two oldest were five and four at the time. And they asked to try it with me. And you know, the two year old was sleeping. So we brought all this stuff out and sat on the couch. And we were doing embroidery together threading through these fabrics with different colored threads. And the hardest part wasn’t like that I had to rethread the needle 732 times in a row. The hardest part was watching my oldest beat himself up that he wasn’t getting it that it wasn’t perfect. And it hit me then how me pursuing things, being mediocre at them can bring freedom to my own kids as they go out and try to show up as themselves and create things and experience the world around them. So they will have witnessed me over the years, destroying like an old rug because I read online, you could paint a rug. Well, I didn’t have the right paint, I don’t think I don’t know, it looks like a murder scene. or trying to fashion a cute little bookshelf out of some old diaper boxes. And the whole thing was sticky from the spray paint and it fell apart. Like I have a lot of Pinterest pails, the world has not seen. Or they’ve seen me night after night a few years ago sitting on the couch with a notepad and a pen trying to learn how to handle letter. They see me talking to my basil trying to keep it alive. They see me being mediocre, and not mad about it, but almost enjoying it.

Some of you are very in touch with your hobbies. And I see this all the time in my clients and in people in my own life. I think there’s some blocks that we have around it. For one, we think we need to be good at it. Another is people want a lot of instructions on how it has to look so they can check all the boxes that they’re doing it correctly. Like they need. I need this to be what I’m working towards. And I need to know how to get there give me all of the steps I need so I can be successful. on others they don’t feel confident to try. Another is they don’t want to commit at least not out loud, because then they might feel pressured to actually follow through on it. Another is they’re not sure if it will be worth it for whatever kind of outcome they’re using to measure what makes it worth it. And another big one, they’ve lost touch with what would be interesting to them. They’ve stopped listening to themselves and the weird and wonderful way they’re made to experience life.

There’s a lot of ways that you can get back in touch with what you think is interesting to you deep down. What did you love to do as a kid? What do you always say you want to dry? Like this was kind of a big wake up call for me as I decluttered a lot of craft supplies, I always said I was going to use and coming to the fact that I just had never done it. What looks interesting to you this season of your life, what are you pinning on Pinterest, maybe it’s making like, I don’t know, elderberry, gummies. or sitting in saunas or playing badminton in the yard with your kids. You don’t have to commit for life. Just try something and see how it feels. Because when you let go of the mental drama of how good you have to be, and when you have a secret motive, that maybe I could monetize this, or get some accolades for it, or get some pride praise for this, when you can let go of all that you have freedom to enjoy the process. So I want to give a side note about monetizing your hobbies. If you want to monetize it, you need to be all in this is why I didn’t make money for years because I hadn’t decided, no, this is actually a business, your hobbies how you have fun. And maybe along the way you decide you want to turn it into a job and it will change your relationship to it. But if you don’t go all in to committing to building a business, you’re just going to be dabbling, doing things halfway, dipping your toe in the water year after year, just waiting for that big break. And I did this. And I the whole time was feeling like this low key frustration that I wasn’t making it. What am I doing wrong, I’m no good at this drama, drama drama. I was still treating it like a hobby, hoping I could monetize it. But I didn’t put myself out there I didn’t commit. So my encouragement to you if you have secret motives, to monetize them, these things, treat that with respect, commitment, or let that go. And lead in the joy of being mediocre come in. Because we’re here for the process over the outcome. If you’ve seen my gardening skills over the years, you know what I mean? This is what we’re here for the process of doing something. Creating, sorting, digging, moving, this is the experience of our lives. This is when we embody the things that we can enjoy.

We’re all thinking it’s about the outcome, but we were wrong. It’s the process. Life is about the living of it. So here’s my pitch for the joy of being mediocre of doing things for no other reason than the enjoyable experience. And this is not about escaping your life, or constantly seeking pleasure at the cost of our values. This is about trading and the chase for success, the chase for false pleasures, the constant wheel of consumption, and instead, spending our time and energy on activities that help us enjoy how we experience our life, pulling us back into the experience of our life. It changes our stance towards our life from consumer to creator. But we need to be okay with it being messy, or maybe a bit harder than we thought. And we need to be willing to show up for the process. So in full transparency, allow me to invite you into the world of my own mediocre pursuits. Here are some of the things that I’ve enjoyed doing over the years, even though I’m kind of crappy at them. I’m not monetizing them. No one’s praising me or asking me to open up an Instagram account for them, that’s for sure. First one gardening. I have spent a lot of money on the nurseries over the years buying the plants and bringing them home and trying to keep them alive. And what I’ve learned through that is there’s a few things that can really keep alive like strawberries and time. And I’m going to buy the farm box and just keep trying different things because I enjoy the process. How about sewing, this is something that got me back into the mindset that I want to create things. I bought a sewing machine, like maybe five years ago, because I think it’s really cool skill to have I I watched my mom be an incredible seamstress for all our lives and regretfully never took advantage of learning from her. But I bought this sewing machine and I decided I’m gonna make myself an apron. And I had the other two kids in preschool one morning and my youngest was at the table on his chair with his snacks. And I’m just going to pull it out and see how much I can do. I decided to make the sacred no pattern and I thought it was so clever because I made like a little pocket for my cell phone to sit in. It’s so custom. And I still wear it like five years later, but no one’s ever really been like Ooh, nice Abraham in order to get

over the years I took piano lessons as a kid I never stuck with the practice part of it. And I can’t even read the bass clef but I can play chords and I love it. There was a time of my life where my husband worked camp work and I was living up north and I would spend two weeks living solo out of the month. And I would just play a lot of the piano just spend hours looking up new songs, trying new things.

foraging, my neighbor told me I could forge these rose hips. So years ago, I started to pick rose hips and dehydrate them for, for making tea. And then the other summer I was like, I’m going to get some rose petals, and I’m going to make rose water. And I looked it up on Pinterest and learned all these different ways you could do it. And it’s still an epic fail that my kids talk about whenever we walk down to this part of the river where I spent a whole day picking rose petals, and they remind me, Hey, Mom, remember that whole day that you picked all those rose petals into this big bucket. And then you fell on the rocks and everything dropped.

Everything I worked for just like laying in the river,

about sports like basketball, I quit basketball in grade four. Because the older boys who were coaching us were making fun of my attempts at a layup. And ever since then, I’ve been so timid to put myself out there and try any sports at all. But my kids are super sporty, and we have a net in the backyard and I will go play with them. And they are better than me and I feel totally uncomfortable. But I also kind of feel like I’m setting 10 year old version of me a little bit free. Like I’m setting her a little bit free to have fun and just try this. embroidery. Like I said I went through an embroidery Phase I like the idea of it is super tedious either way is just something that we can still pull out with the kids. And we’ll like make something simple with the thread and the fabric. It’s fine. bullet journaling, which is taking a blank notebook and building it into this custom agenda slash planners like scrapbooking, your to do list in your calendar. And when I learned about it, I was looking at all of these pictures on Pinterest and Instagram and like how on try that I’ll get all the supplies. And I quickly decided that I wanted to plan my life. But I didn’t want it to turn into a performance art of how I could make a calendar look like an art prints. And I stuck with bullet journaling over the years and I loved it. And I just keep it simple and have fun with it. Some other things I’m pretty mediocre at making cornbread dancing. Even though I kitchen dance party, at least daily DIY, any furniture, home haircuts.

My latest is painting and I paint a few times each month. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years. And I don’t do it. Because I’m good at it. And it’s not like I’m secret good. And I’m being modest. No, that’s not it. I just do it because I want to make something interesting. And it’s one of those things that I have found I can spend hours doing like Sunday is our church and chill day. And at the in the afternoon, I’ll just pull out all the paints. And I can spend hours just painting something, anything making colors and just whatever. And is just so relaxing. I just have so much fun doing it, even though I’m not good at it. And my kids sometimes join me It’s so much fun. So this is my big pitch, hobbies, whatever you do, whatever kind of enjoyment you have activities you want to do, it should be fun. It should be restful, they should make you feel like you are participating in your life. And being a little bit more of who you are kind of designed to be because you were made this way for a reason you were drawn to certain things for a reason, start listening to those things. This is an exercise in productivity or perfection. In fact, it is the work of living without those tethers of showing up in your life. Without those measurements of success. And hobbies. They don’t have to be like lifelong passions, it can just be whatever seems interesting today. So go my friends and find joy in being mediocre. And then come to the Facebook group and share with us there what you’re working on. And if you are in the Facebook group that simple on purpose community if you’re part of the simple squad, remember that is your place to share your thoughts on these episodes. I love to hear from you there about what has helped you what you want more of what questions you have. I would especially love to hear from you on any changes you’ve made in your life that make it more simple and more purposeful. Alright friends, have a great week.


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