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How to do what you love
Discover how to turn your passion for life into a passion for business
You’ve heard the old saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” In many ways, this saying is true. If you’re passionate about what you’re putting your energy into, it won’t feel like you’re working. On the other hand, many people use this ideology as an excuse. Why put time and effort into something if you don’t love it?
The truth is, if you’re doing what you love for a living, you probably started out by taking small steps to reach that goal. Most people don’t enter their careers and immediately dive into doing what they love. What is the IT factor these people have in common? Purpose. If you use your own sense of purpose to inform your professional decisions and progress, you will end up doing what you love. To really be true to your purpose as it relates to your life’s work, which is key to building a career in which you truly love what you do, then you need to ask yourself, “What is my inner potential, and what are my deepest talents?” By exploring questions that push you to discover your identity, values and what you care about the most, you’ll find your quintessential truth: that you must first understand what your true gift is in order to find fulfillment in your career.
As Tony Robbins says, “Change is automatic, but progress is not. If you want to make progress you need a plan, a strategy and ongoing habits to get the results you want.” We’ll break down these three components and discuss how they’re necessary if you want to do what you love and love what you do.
1. Make a plan to do what you love
The first step in developing a career in which you love what you do is in thinking clearly about your purpose. What empowers you? What do you wish you could wake up and do every day? For some people, it might be helping others. For a different person, it might be being able to express their thoughts and feelings creatively. Others are looking for things like being able to travel or spend time with their family. Once you’ve really thought about your ultimate goal in life, consider how you’ll achieve it.
Unless you’re born into money, you’re going to have to work to be able to do what you love. Start with a plan. How can you achieve your true purpose through work? How can you combine that interest with a real-world career? Plan how you can make your vision a reality.
2. To love what you do, strategize wisely
You’re never going to go from point A, as a total beginner, to point Z, in which you miraculously are doing what you love and have reached complete financial freedom. You have to go from point A to point B to point C, and so on. Strategize wisely! How can you most efficiently go on your career journey to build a career in which you love what you do? There are a few things you can do to expedite this process:
- Find a mentor: Whether it’s someone you know in real life who has achieved massive success or someone you haven’t met in person but greatly admire, find out how they found success. How is it that they’re able to do what you love? How can you model the path they took and adjust it to meet your own specific circumstances?
- Work with a coach: You might be missing the expertise to go after your passion on your own. Work with a Results Coach who can help you focus on your end goal and help you develop a strategic plan to reach it.
- Continue innovating: When you’re working toward your goal, you will encounter setbacks and failure – that’s inevitable. The key is to not fold at the first sign of failure, but to continue innovating. How can you refine your approach? How can you change what you’re doing to more swiftly meet your goal?
If you’re not sure what strategy to employ, consider employing all three: committing to innovation in your professional life with the help of a coach or mentor. Research shows that this combination of commitment and mentorship is one of the most effective ways to build a career in which you do what you love. Thirty years of research on the topic assessed 43 studies comparing career outcomes of people who either engaged mentors or didn’t in their pursuit of career innovation. Those who engaged mentors received higher compensation, more promotions, felt more satisfied with (and committed to) their careers and felt more likely to enjoy future career advancement. Another survey of 170 professionals found that those who engaged mentors were significantly more likely to appreciate their place of employment and its leadership. Engaging a mentor also impacted employee retention rates and employees’ sense of inclusion in the workplace, both of which come into play in terms of career satisfaction.
3. Develop positive habits
In realizing that it might take a while for you to do what you truly love at work, you need to make sure you’re developing sustainable habits. This includes professional habits, like becoming a great networker and regularly attending seminars to better your skills, and personal ones, like ensuring you’re taking enough time off to do what you love outside of work, like listening to entertaining podcasts and spending time with your kids. When practiced regularly over time, these habits will sustain you even when things get tough. As your professional journey progresses, you can always fall back on these learned and cultivated skills.
The role of harmony in the quest to do what you love
Developing positive habits will also help you create a harmonious work-life balance, which will in turn enhance your feelings of contentment once you are in a career in which you love what you do. How does harmonizing your personal and professional lives enhance your career? Research demonstrates that it is work-life balance, not money, autonomy or even recognition, which ultimately drives career success. Specifically, a survey of 4,100 business executives from medium-to-large firms in 33 countries revealed that, when employees are able to balance their professional and personal lives, they engage far more readily with the tasks at hand (and the team with which they collaborate) than employees who are overworked. This sense of work-life balance results not only in fewer departures from a given company but also in employees feeling like they “have it all” in terms of holistic life satisfaction. Take their cue and work to harmonize your work life with your personal life.
Doing what you love for a living is possible, but it takes time. Decide today to start working toward your goals, and realize that there are many steps along the way between where you begin and where you want to be. Most importantly, cultivate habits that fill your life with joy as you travel down the path to success.
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