Work vs. Love: If you do what you love, is it work?

by Julie Canfield
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The English Language has many four-letter words. Some like love, grin, and kiss, invoke warm feelings in us. Others like diet, fail, and work, incite pain.

When you shift your paradigm of thought to say a diet is a lifestyle choice. It doesn’t sound constricting. If you think of a fail as a lesson learned, again you’ve taken a negative and seen its positive side. But work? Can work be anything but a bore or a pain? When was the last time you jumped up from a cozy bed excited to dress and go to a place filled with endless tasks for you to complete? If you can’t remember, then maybe it’s time to consider another way to earn a living.

In college, when choosing a major, we consider what we’re good at, what our parents do, and job availabilities. Nurses and teachers will always be in demand, and opportunities to work anywhere in those fields will continue to exist for years. But do you have the right personality for either of these? Lawyers, doctors, and engineers are all prestigious titles which pay well, but does a title and salary satisfy your heart?

Research has shown people make career choices based on two things: money or prestige. A high salary may make a career alluring, but does it make it less tedious or boring? Wouldn’t it be better to pursue something you enjoy doing even if it means less money every week? Once again researchers have learned when people are doing something they love, they do it better, gain more satisfaction from doing it well, feel less drained, more energized, in short, are happier with life.

Is it possible to do what you love as a career? Before that can be answered, you must determine what it is that ignites a passion inside you? Such a simple question, yet it has no easy answer. What you love at twenty, maybe downscaled to a like when you reach thirty. Tastes change as your life experiences grow. Does this mean you’ll never do what you love? No, it only implies you may have to evolve, expand, or refocus your work. Is that bad? Certainly not. Your growth, your new interests, gain your knowledge, skills, and a freshening outlook that keeps your passion and love of your work fueled.

Let’s say you have decided music is what brings you the most pleasure in life and you want to share that with the world. Great. Musicians are special people. Not everyone can play an instrument well, write songs, or sing. Some of us can merely enjoy the talents of others, and that too is vital in life.

When you’ve made your decision, no matter what it is, you must learn discipline. You’ll never get good at what you love or make a living at it, if you don’t discipline yourself to do what it takes to lear your passion. Mastering your passion opens up the world. Thanks to technology and social media, it is now easier and cheaper to share your talents and skills, your love with the world, and this can lead to jobs.

Should you quit your day job and dive in? Depends on how comfortable you are with that idea, what your monthly expenses are, and are you willing to make significant lifestyle changes immediately? Most of us are not blessed with deep pockets so giving up a guaranteed income for occasional payments for services rendered is scary. But this doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love as your job. Baby steps can be taken to achieve your goals.

Try starting as a freelancer. This lets you build a portfolio of clients. Good reviews and recommendations from them give your prospective clients inside knowledge of what to expect from your work. Freelancing allows you to choose jobs that will fit into your schedule without overstressing or throwing a work-life balance out of sync. The more freelancing jobs you get, the bigger your income stream becomes. Eventually, you may get to see, you can make a living doing what you love best.

Perhaps you are an artist at heart. You have the talent and the passion, so why not begin with placing your work in contests to see how it’s received. From there, branch out into doing art festivals. Yes, it means you’ll spend a little money paying for your spot, but it allows you to get your work out in the public eye and make some sales. As your following grows, submit some samples to places where people gather on a consignment basis. Restaurants, libraries, doctor and dentist offices are great places to show off your talents. Every piece of work you sell takes you one step closer to your dream of doing what you love for a living.

You may say there’s no way I can give up my day job that pays my bills, supplies my insurance, and finds my retirement. Okay, so don’t let it go. Work your day job and make room in your life to work your dream job. Your day job will keep you in a steady economic boat while your dream job can be the one that fuels your passion for life. That is fine. There’s no wrong way to do what you love. Who knows if you’ve invested wisely in a retirement plan, you may be able to leave the day job earlier than expected and finish out your working life doing that dream job.

There’s no wrong way to achieve your dreams and goals in life, and guess what? There’s no concrete timeline either. Things are always changing in life and in the workforce too. Noone can say when your dream will take off. It may gain traction quicker than planned or may need more time to get going. What matters is not letting any setback take away the joy you get from the dream.

Is there a roadmap or directions on google to get you to where you want to be?

No, but there are questions you need to ask yourself.

1. What is it I love?

2. Is this a love that can bring in a steady income or only add some play money to my life?

3. If I think it can be an income, then how much risk can I take to make it one?

4. Do I love it now and will I like it later?

5. Am I disciplined enough to be my own boss?

Life is an endless series of choices. Can you pursue your dream is one that you’ll make on the journey of living? If you keep a level head, your eyes on the end goal, be willing to make the choices needed to succeed, then odds are in your favor that you will become one of those people who have managed to make work a four-letter word that’s a joy to say.

Julie Canfield

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