Finding a way to make a living doing what you love is not all that complicated or difficult…and it’s certainly easier than spending multiple decades at a job, a company, or in an industry you don’t really like.
There are probably multiple moments you may remember from your childhood when a family member was clearly unhappy with their career and it completely affected the way they were at home. These people were grumpy, annoyed, jaded, and dissatisfied with life.
So many of us have seen the damage that a career mismatch can do, yet we follow the same patterns.
You can absolutely make a living doing what you love and create a career that makes you feel fulfilled and engaged in life. I don’t want to sound cheesy or anything, but it’s all about mindset. And using that mindset to make the right strategic decisions. You have to take the bull by the horns, so to speak.
If you are scared about where you’ve landed and want to make a change or you want to make sure you avoid these mistakes as you start a new career, read on for four actionables that will help steer you in the right direction.
- Take action to avoid mediocrity
Many believe we live in a polar world where some of us are making no money because we want to pursue our passions (and passion simply isn’t profitable) and others are making the big bucks for doing things no one else wants to do (and maybe selling out on values).
In reality, most of the workforce is performing mediocre tasks for mediocre pay. They’re the in-betweens and the majority who, for various reasons (maybe children or a series of bad decisions), don’t like what they do and aren’t making enough money to make it worth it either.
I meet so many people who appear to be void of passion or interests but I don’t think that’s really what is going on underneath. I think these people are tired from working 9 to 5 doing something that does not stimulate them and have submitted to the idea that life is hard and work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable. This makes them tired, unhealthy, and unable to work on changing their situation.
They have passions and interests and talents but they’ve forgotten them or maybe never even embraced them to see the potential.
Instead, they work for other people who did pursue their passions and interests. People who did take the bull by the horns: the creators, the brave, and the active.
Working for other people is fine. If you find the right company, a job that stimulates you, and have a manager that is a good match for you, you can absolutely enjoy working. And you can even find roles where you are creative. This isn’t a situation that just happens to you by chance, though.
Most people who enjoy their jobs made strategic decisions to get where they are, which includes negotiating pay raises, doing what they need to do to move up the ladder, and –sometimes– quitting bad companies and bad bosses.
It takes bravery and effort to create a life that you love, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. It has nothing to do with chance or luck. You can’t just sit around waiting for it to happen to you. You have to go out and get it.
- Think back to your childhood
A lot of people feel stuck and more like they have a lot of general interests vs. one clear passion or talent. Sometimes this is a symptom of not wanting to make a choice because you are afraid to make the wrong one.
But indecision is far worse than discovering, down the line, that your real interest is something else. The process isn’t linear…each choice influences another and it’s your job to find the narrative and the big picture that makes sense.
There are hints of our true talents and interests if we look to childhood. If you think about what you spent your time doing and thinking about as a child, you’ll probably quickly see similarities between who you were then and who you are today –the you that’s underneath and suppressed by a long day of work doing something that isn’t right for you.
As a young person, I was very passionate about learning and would often read an entire book in a day only to start on a new novel the next. I knew I was going to get a master’s degree before I even began Freshman year of college.
I was also immensely creative –always crafting, painting, building, and going above and beyond on any project that allowed me to exercise those talents.
Today, education and creativity are still my two core focuses as I am the Marketing Director (one of the most creative roles in any company) for an education startup. I engineered the situation I have now because I knew I needed to make my interests profitable.
Davis, our founder, wore 3-piece suits and traded his first stock at age 12. Today, he is a talented decision maker for Eazl and is skilled at making the right responsible financial moves…and the right risky ones.
Take a moment to make these kinds of connections for yourself and your own experiences.
- Get in the service mindset
Get in the mindset that you must be in service to others in order to provide value. What you enjoy doing isn’t enough on it’s own. You have to offer service to others in order to make a living doing what you love. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby.
For example, if you have an artistic skill, it will be quite difficult to make a living simply by creating. But, if you can connect your skill with a need in the market –in the case of an artist, anything from product and packaging design to painting murals for local governments– you can absolutely make your art work for you.
You see, it’s not just about you. It’s about your community, your neighbors, and playing your own special role in the economy and the world around you. If you want to take your interest from something that you do during leisure time to what you do for a living, you have fulfill a need. Otherwise, it’s indulgent and nothing that anyone would pay for.
- Do the hard stuff
This is something we find ourselves repeating in all of our courses from topics on marketing and entrepreneurship to traditional career management. The people who win in our society are the people who do the hard stuff.
Sure, you might find a way to monetize your passion or find your dream job, but there will continue to be hard things and tasks that aren’t enjoyable.You just have to be willing to face the hard stuff because it won’t be all about performing that one action or talent that you find pleasurable.
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