Do What You Love? Myth or Truth – Harish Rao

Do what you love……Mission or myth? “ Do what you love and you will never work another day in your life….” Great career advice or a great myth from the self- help industry that will leave you unfulfilled and disillusioned? Most proud baby-boomer parents, inspired by motivational guru’s, encouraged their millennial babies by saying they could achieve anything as long as they loved doing it. And boy, did we take that advice to heart. In my hometown I was among 300 new psychology students that started in that year and city alone. My friends registered en masse for interesting degrees as “leisure science” and “lifestyle informatics” and now get to compete with 2000 other passionate alumni applying for that same 1 job in their field a year. So does doing what you love really pay off? I am a great believer in finding out what brings you passion and indulging in it, because that fills your life with play and joyfulness.
But when it comes to “doing what we love”, we tend to make two mistakes.
Mistake 1: You need to turn your passion into a fulltime career We misinterpret “doing what you love” as “making our main career out of what you love”. We delude ourselves because we are constantly exposed to people that seem to make big money with Instagram travel blogs, YouTube cooking tutorials or selling sand paintings. We started thinking that is the new norm. If they can do it….shouldn’t I…. We don’t realize that we ONLY see the exceptions. We don’t see the people that don’t make it. It’s like winning the lottery, because we all know the happy images of people with big checks, we perceive our chances of winning as far greater than they really are. In reality, you are more likely to get rich when you take your money and put it in your savings account. The same thing goes for turning your passion into a career. Although some get to become instant overnight successes with doing what they love, for most of us it will not happen like that. And unfortunately, once people realize that, they give up on their passion completely. Mistake 2: Doing what you love never feels like working Just like with winning the lottery, it is not all gold that glitters.
When you do manage to turn your passion into a career, it is still hard work. When you start your own business in real estate, it is not only about flipping houses. You need to do all the work. That means you are also the administrator, accountant, cleaning lady, receptionist and logistic manager. It pays to know upfront if that’s something you are up for. Owning your own B&B may sound romantic but if you don’t like complaining people, cleaning toilets and getting up at all hours of the night, you might want to rethink. (For those of you considering it, check http://www.bandbcoach.com/the-shocking-truth-about-owning-a-bed-and-breakfast/ ) So, does this mean we need to give up on giving up the idea of doing what we love? NOT AT ALL! But you need to be realistic about it…. Turning your passion into profit is not as simple as doing what you love and the rest will follow. It takes time, persistence, planning, commitment, taking risks and creativity.
When I wanted to become a trainer, I simply started reading books. I practiced on friends. I ask for a chance to set up workshops for co workers at my then job. I talked to everyone and their mother about my plans, until eventually I met someone that offered a platform. I took that chance, developing and doing workshops next to my (more than fulltime) job. When I had finally built up enough stable opportunities, I dared to take the plunge and made the switch. But I was only able to do that because I was committed and I planned. I dedicated my time, created opportunities, explored the field, broadened my network and (financially) prepared for upcoming changes. And still, that doesn’t mean I don’t work hard. It doesn’t mean I love everything about it. It is just that when I do work hard or do things I don’t like as much, I know why I do it. Love what you do Most people are in the same position I was.
You can’t quit your job today and become a fulltime dog walker tomorrow. You have loans, student debts, responsibilities. But just because you don’t have that high paying dream job now, doesn’t mean you should give on your passion all together. That’s why I prefer this saying: Do what you love… AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO. It challenges you to take ownership. You are responsible for experiencing happiness and fulfillment in your current occupation. Start with figuring out what part of your current job is meaningful and fulfilling. In any job there is at least 1 aspect that you like or excel in. In which task, situations, roles or projects do you thrive? Usually those are the things that you do first. The projects you put extra time and energy in. The skills or actions you get complimented on. It doesn’t even have to do with actual job requirements. What parts of your job or work environment do you love? Just figure out when you feel meaningful in your workplace? Discover what that is for you and start creating opportunities to do more of that work. For example if you love being creative, write a proposal for a new project. If you love helping people, unfold yourself as the “go to” person for your colleagues. If you love people management, organize teambuilding activities.
There is always something you can do, to create more meaning in your workday. It will make your work more enjoyable and, more importantly, you create opportunities to develop yourself in area’s you do feel passionate about. The more opportunities you create, the less time you have to spend working on the things you don’t like to do. And if you still want to turn you passion into a career: Plan well, work hard and go for it! But don’t see the time before that as wasted. Seize the opportunity you have right now to work towards the day that you are ready to pursue your passion fulltime!
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