“Working hard for something you hate is called stress. Working hard for something you love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek
Were you crystal clear about what you wanted to do when you were growing up … or are you still trying to figure that out?
Are you working hard at something you hate – or for something you love?
My sons Tom and Andrew grew up on Maui. Our family ritual was to head out for a “walk and roll” through our neighborhood every night. I would walk and they would ride their big wheels, bikes or skateboards.
One night when Tom was about eight, I asked him, “What do you want to do – who do you want to be – when you grow up?”
Tom thought about it for a moment and then pointed to the sky and said, “Something to do with up there.”
From an early age, Tom read Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Orson Scott Card. He loved sci-fi novels about space exploration.
Guess what Tom ended up doing?? Working for NASA in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston with the ISS (International Space Station).
This story gets better. Guess who Tom met while working in Mission Control? His now wife Patty, who had the coolest job title – Astronaut Scheduler.
Guess who now is in Boulder working for Sierra Nevada on the Dream Chaser – and Patty is working with satellites for LASP in Boulder, Colorado? Guess who has a couple of little astronauts toddling around the house?
All because they had clarity about what they wanted to do and made it happen. It gives me chicken-skin (Hawaiian for goose bumps) every time I think about it.
For many of us though, clarity about what we wanted to do didn’t show up when we were growing up. For many of us, it crystallized over time from a series of trial-and-error experiences. No to this. Yes to this. Maybe to this.
We noticed that when we did this type of work or collaborated with these type of individuals, it resonated, it felt right. We felt meaningfully productive. That activity was a match for who we are at our core. It’s in alignment with what we’re good at, what matters to us.
Are you still not clear what that is for you?
You can get closer to it by taking a second look at what you do by choice, in your free time? What do you do – voluntarily – when you’re not working? What’s FUN for you?
Noticing this, and understanding that what we do when we procrastinate can reveal work we’d rather be doing, is what happened to a colleague, Dana Wright.
Dana always used to “noodle and doodle.” In class, instead of listening to her teacher, she would let her imagination run free. Instead of doing her assignments, she’d fill the margins with what she was seeing in her mind’s eye. Even as an adult, she always had a pen in her hand and was taking notes or drawing. It was what she did naturally.
Guess how Dana now earns her living – a good living – in every sense of the word?
She’s a graphic facilitator. She is the person you see at conferences and strategic retreats, facilitating the discussion while simultaneously drawing a colorful, visual word-map/mural of what’s happening in the room. She literally and figuratively gets everyone on the same page with her meeting art.
Dana loves her work – and it loves her. She turned her joy into her job.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could turn your joy into your job? Ask yourself these questions:
1 What do I do when I’m supposed to be doing something else?
2. What am I’m drawn to do when I’m supposed to be doing my “real” job?
3. What do I do in my free time that resonates, feels right, puts the light on in my eyes, fills me with joy?
4. What am I good at that makes me feel good?
Once you identify what that is, get creative about how you could get paid to teach that to others – or do that for others.
Another way to crstallize work you love that puts the light on in your eyes is to leverage your Four I’s. The Four I’s can be your Career Compass in developing a meaningful career. Here’s how you can Create Work You Love
If you leverage your Four Ii’s, you’ll never have to “work” another day in your life because you’ll be in that sublime state of SerenDestiny where you’re earning a good living doing what you love most and do best with people you enjoy, respect and trust … and getting paid for it.
Does it get better than that??
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P.S. Want more ways to turn your passion into a profession? Check out my IDEApreneur book. It shares exactly what I’ve done over the past 25 years to be a successful entrepreneur who’s traveled the world, getting paid to speak, write, coach and help others turn their joy into their job.
You’re also welcome to check out this post which has more tips on how to integrate our passions into our profession so we’re doing what’s called “job crafting.”