Some people go to work to make money. I go to work to have fun… and the money is a bi-product of what I do. My work “is” fun. I truly love it.
I have a sign in my office that says, “If it feels like work, you must be doing something wrong,” something I heard my friend and professional speaker, Larry Winget say when we worked together many year ago.
Many people settle for a job that brings them money, but not much happiness. Happiness is about having purpose, finding out who we are, and feeling valuable in doing so. It’s what you do that shapes who you are.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” ~ Steve Jobs
You may think that’s easy for Steve Jobs to say… he’s loaded with money. But he didn’t begin that way.
It’s important to find something you feel a passion for and go for it. Seth Godin once told the story of a gifted friend who took on a draining, grunt role at a record company because music was his bliss. Godin wondered, rightly, if this friend could have served himself and society better if he worked as a schoolteacher during the day and spent his spare time pursuing his passion.
I was first a trainer at a large real estate company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was scared to death the first training class I presented. I didn’t feel like it went well. I was mistaken. Years later I visited the company and stopped in to see a few of the associates that had worked with me. As soon as I walked into one of the associate’s office, she greeted me and opened a desk drawer and said, “I was just talking about you this morning to one of our new associates.” She handed me a battered copy of the very first class I taught and said, “I made a copy of this for her. It was the most important class I ever took and continues to help me to this day.”
When I began thinking about quitting a very nice, well paying job to become a professional speaker, it was very scary. I repeat, very scary. I had to make the call, commit to it, push through it, and see where it took me. My first step was to work with several other speakers to promote their work. Little by little I learned the skills that would lead me to where I wanted to go.
Fear. Many people are too afraid to find their passion and follow it. It’s the fear of not being able to take care of ourselves (and our families, if we have them). It’s all about showing enough courage to step out and “do what you really love.” Succeeding in anything requires a great deal of work and uncertainty. Risk is always part of the equation. If the decision is so monumental you just can’t make the call, break it down into smaller steps. Take baby steps in the beginning. Find what you are naturally interested in… study it, then slowing begin to move in the direction that will take you where you need to go. Being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege.
“Find something more important than you are,” philosopher Dan Dennett once said in discussing the secret of happiness, “and dedicate your life to it.”
Why should this be such a big deal? Work is work, after all. Do you really need to love what you do? Yes. You do. If you haven’t developed a passion for your work, and you’re not spending time and energy upgrading your skills, how will you ever improve in your field? When you spend your time doing something other that what you love, you will always have that feeling like you’re missing out on something. You will spend a lot of time watching the clock… waiting until you can get the heck out of the office and head for happy hour, or whatever you do when you leave your boring job. Anyone and everyone can do what they love, even if they have yet to figure out exactly what that is.
On my journey, I discovered my purpose in life. It took me awhile, but today I am more committed to the four words that defines who I am. “Helping others, help themselves!” Success seems to visit those who have the capacity to fall in love with what they do, in order to make a difference in the lives of others.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Highlight the thing(s) that make you feel the happiest, freest, and most satisfied when you’re doing them. Ponder what it is you most enjoy doing and then do everything you can to turn that activity into a wage-generating enterprise.
2. Work at becoming more self-confident. Take a class or find a mentor who is successful at doing what you want to do. There is no shame in requesting help. Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tom Hopkins (Professional speaker and trainer) were most helpful to me when I switch careers.
3. Decide how you might want to incorporate them into your life a little at a time. It’s not always smart to drop everything and follow your passion. Study the skills you need to do it.
4. Do not listen to people who say, “you can’t do that!”, because you can! Squash the negativity.
5. Step out of the box you are confined to and move forward. Take action. No matter how small the action, you need to commit to doing something to change your situation. Finding career contentment requires diving in wholeheartedly.
“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.” ~ The Holstee Manifesto
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! Happiness and joy are waiting to be discovered. I believe that everyone has a higher calling. What’s yours?
BONUS Articles: 22 Kickass Ways to Love Your Job – Even if You Hate It
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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