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Do What You Love

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Self-Help

Do What You Love

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Self-Help

I’m sure that at some point in your life someone told you to “do what you love” as it relates to your career. I’m also pretty sure that many of you reading this right now aren’t doing what you love. I’d even take it a step further and say many of you are not doing anything you like. As a matter of fact, maybe you even dislike what you do.

It’s no wonder why many people almost get annoyed when they are given the very cliché advice to “follow your heart and do what you love.” What if we took a closer look at that. What if there was actually so much truth behind that statement that you could find yourself wondering why you ever dismissed it in the first place?

What Do You Love?

Think back for a second to when you were a child. What kind of things did you like to do? Many people that I talk to tell me that they enjoyed “stupid kid stuff” like “skateboarding, video games, and sports” or “singing, dancing, and walking dogs.” Well I have some news for you: none of those things are stupid. As a matter of fact, all of those things are incredible. Another newsflash for you: all of those hobbies have billion-dollar industries built around them. Some of them even intersect.

When you were a kid, maybe you liked to go play basketball with your friends. Maybe you really enjoyed basketball too. You watched it on TV, you played it in your backyard, you bought basketball sneakers, and you idolized LeBron James. Every Christmas morning you would look under the tree for any gifts that had anything to do with basketball. A new ball? Awesome. A pack of trading cards? Sweet. You might not have been completely obsessed about basketball, but something in you really enjoyed it.

When you were a kid, perhaps you enjoyed basketball in your own childlike way. You probably enjoy basketball in a more mature way anymore, just watching it on television and keeping up with the headlines. You have no aspirations to become an NBA basketball player or try your hand at coaching a team.

What Do You Do?

So for the sake of example, let’s say when you were a kid you really liked (or loved) basketball. Well that was then. You are an adult now. What are you doing with your life? What does your career look like? Why do you do what you do? Can you name three to five things that you like about your career other than the money you earn?

I’m not asking you this to cause an existential crisis or make you feel like you’re not doing enough. I’m asking you this for a serious reason. What are you doing? If you really enjoy basketball, why the heck you are working in accounts payable? If you always enjoyed tinkering with cars, why are you working as a customer support representative? Stop doing whatever you’re doing and go do what you enjoy.

A Caveat

I think it’s very important that I mention that you should be intentional about what you do in life. Obviously if you’re in your mid-40s and work in sales, I don’t think it would be wise for you to quit your job and try to become a professional athlete. But what if you plotted a course to work as a salesperson in an industry you enjoy? What if you changed careers altogether for something more aligned with your core interests?

Success has never been this accessible before. You can find a career, start a business, or work as a contractor in almost any industry you want. Maybe when you were young you enjoyed playing video games. Perhaps you’re not trying to become a pro gamer or video game developer, but couldn’t you go do something that is (at the very least) adjacent to the gaming industry? Video game publishers need accountants, lawyers, salespeople, purchasers, project managers, graphic designers, etc. The list goes on.

Doing the Wrong Job in the Right Industry

Additionally, make sure you’re not doing the wrong job in the right industry. I will use an individual I know as an example here. I have friend who is in his late forties. He has worked in the construction business since he was a teenager. He’s experienced in a handful of trades, some more than others. This person is very knowledgeable about many elements of the construction industry. Sometimes he likes helping out with side projects and he is always happy to consult with friends and family when they need help planning a home improvement.

I asked him one day if he liked what he did. He told me that he couldn’t stand it. He told me that he hated waking up early, driving to work, and then laboring outside in either the blistering heat or the frigid cold. He told me that if it weren’t for the money he made, he wouldn’t do it at all.

I connected the dots after talking to him about this. This guy doesn’t actually hate what he does. He loves the industry that he’s in. He takes pride in his work and in the fact that he has done so much as a tradesman. All that he really dislikes are the specific parameters of his current job. Someone with his level of experience of over 20 years knows much more about the construction business than just how to dig foundations and frame houses. He knows how it works as a business.

We’ve never had another conversation about it, but maybe it’s time. Perhaps it’s time I ask him why he keeps doing that to himself. He makes great money, he’s just tired of making it exactly the way he’s been making it. Instead of being an operator or carpenter, what if he tried to start working as a consultant, project manager, general contractor, or fill some other role in that industry?

I know that everyone has their own unique circumstances. I know for a fact that this person has very important responsibilities outside of work that require him to earn a good and stable income. I understand that if he were to change careers there would be risk involved. Well what about the risk of spending the second half of your life doing something that you despise? Would you want to do that? I sure wouldn’t.

Do What You Love

I’ve been reflecting on this topic very much all week after an insightful discussion I had with some friends last weekend. It’s really making sense to me. I am currently living a very fulfilling existence. I am young and have much to learn. I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I’ve dreamed about. Despite this, I feel like I am doing what I love. I wake up every day excited.

Do you know what I always enjoyed as a kid? Computers. From a very young age. I always enjoyed tinkering with computers, writing code, playing video games, and utilizing the wonderful tools that computers provide us access to. As a result, I went on to study Computer Science in college. I worked a handful of jobs and internships in the digital space. Now, I’m currently working on my biggest endeavor yet, and it has everything to do with technology.

I’m not trying to turn this blog post into a highlight reel. What I’m trying to do is give some insight as to how it really feels when you enjoy your livelihood. Of course work will still always need to get done. There will always be things that you don’t want to do and challenges that you will find frustrating. It’s not always going to be fun. That said, you can still do something that brings you fulfillment. You just need to figure out and find a way to make a living doing what you love.

I have witnessed very many young people start careers doing things they don’t really like just because it makes them money. I have a friend that has a passion for automobiles. He loves all things cars and is very knowledgeable about them. He decided that he did not want to be a professional mechanic and he went to college. He doesn’t like what he studied as much as he loves cars, but he could still apply that degree and the skills he’s acquired, just in the automotive industry. Boom. Fulfillment.

So take some time this week and reflect on that. Are you fulfilled? Do you love what you do? What did you love as a child? What steps can you take to do something much more along the lines of what you love to do?

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Photo Credits: Unsplash.