Many teachers choose to teach Pilates for the “feels.”  We love helping people and we really love the feeling we get after we’ve helped someone find a connection or facilitated an “ah-ha” moment.  I’ve often heard teachers say “I love this work so much that if I won the lottery, I’d still teach for free!”

Don’t get me wrong, these good feelings are the stuff of what makes those who choose the career of Pilates Teacher a special breed.  However, a problem arises when the “feels” can’t pay the bills.  This week we examine two types of teaching that can help you understand how to qualify the difference between your work and your passion.


Whoever said “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life was a.) wrong and b.) confused about the difference between your occupation vs. your vocation.  Let’s break it down:


Your occupation is where you receive your income.  It’s the work you do that brings in a paycheck, pays the bills and maybe, if you’re lucky, the medical insurance too.  This daily grind has rules, times to show up and leave, policies, procedures and professionalism ingrained into each day.  It’s not to say that you can’t have fun within your occupation, it’s more that this work is obligatory to keep your flow of income steady.



Your vocation is what you were MADE for.  It’s your passion.  Something you happen to be really good at, naturally. You were born for it. People see you and think: “Yep, of course they do that!”  It’s the thing that lights you up from the inside – wait for it – whether or not you get paid to do it.  


You’ve probably already wondered: Can my job as a Pilates Teacher be both my occupation and my vocation? The answer is YES!  However, we will be best served when we begin to understand which hours are fueling our passion and which ones are paying the bills.

You may have some sessions that never quite feel as fulfilling as others – those are occupation sessions.  You teach them to the best of your ability, but you do not expect them to be full of “feels.” (The good news is, when they are, it will be an awesome surprise!)

You may have some sessions where miracles abound with every breath – those are what you were made for! Appreciate them. Drink them in and let them fill you up!

For some of you, it may be evident that Pilates is your occupation, but your vocation is art or music, volunteering or something totally different.  This is OK and doesn’t mean you’ll never have good “feels” in your sessions.  However, it does mean that you will be served through identifying where your passion gets filled up and committing to spending time doing that thing for your overall fulfillment.  This will take the pressure off of the expectation that you should feel passionate about every hour you teach and give you an outlet from which to receive fulfillment.

I’m sure this post will get some of your wheels turning.  Remember that I’m here to answer any questions you may have and would love to hear from you in the comments!


xo Jenna

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