Love Your Life, Do What You Love

Grown Folks Fitness is all about wellness and holistic health. Part of wellness is career satisfaction. In self-development circles, the oft-given advice is “do what you love and the money will follow.” I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I also acknowledge that sometimes it doesn’t work. There are many reasons why it may not work:

  • You don’t know what you love
  • What you love will never pay the bills, even under the best of circumstances
  • Deep down, you don’t really want to do your passion full time
  • You’re not really sure what “love” means in this context

So, first, I will define what I mean by love in the context of “doing what you love.” What I mean by love is that all of your innate gifts come to the forefront when you engage in this activity. Time goes faster than normal. You become totally absorbed. The work feels effortless, even when you’re working hard. You don’t want to stop, even when you know you need to rest. The activity keeps coming to mind, even when you’re doing something else. You are not only engaged emotionally, but you are competent and talented at this activity. You learn quickly and have good instincts. This activity is something you would enjoy doing even if you weren’t getting paid.

Now, some people don’t feel this way about anything. And, most people don’t feel this way about their jobs. But, then again, you may know exactly what this activity is for you, but there is absolutely no market for it. Or, maybe there used to be a market for it, but technology has rendered your passion obsolete. So, what to do?

If you don’t feel passionate about anything – assuming you don’t have a medical concern, such as clinical depression – I would suggest you make it your business to dabble until you find your joy. Try a lot of things. Don’t worry about what it’s supposed to look like. Don’t worry about being a “jack of all trades,” there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of majoring in something, take a bunch of free or cheap classes in different subjects. Check out a bunch of books. Watch YouTube videos on the subject. Maybe what you actually like is variety. Maybe your passion is just relaxing with friends and playing cards on the weekends. That’s okay too. You just have to adjust your goals. A passion does not have to generate an income.

But, if your goal is to make money at your passion, keep this in mind: sometimes relying on your passion for money kills every ounce of joy you once took from it. You’re doing it for money now, so you may no longer be able to do everything exactly as you like. You have customers to consider. Those customers have deadlines and demands. You are now providing them with a good or a service, which they are paying for, so everything has to be exactly right. You may or may not like this. Think about it carefully. You may prefer to keep your day job and enjoy your passion as a hobby.

But, if you know for sure you want to do your passion for a living, and there is no market for it – or the market is small, unpredictable, or unprofitable – you have to be more strategic. First, reduce your living expenses as much as possible and get out of debt. This will take some of the pressure off. Next, you’ll have to spend a lot of time brainstorming on how to create a market for your product or service. Get the word out through social media and your personal contacts. Take advantage of email survey companies so you can gauge if people may be interested in what you have to offer. Don’t go into any debt for it, especially not at first. And keep your day job, for sure.

If you hate your day job with a passion, see if you can get a different one quickly. It may take a while to get your new business off the ground. So, try to get a day job that you can do easily. You don’t want your 9-5 to siphon off all your energy for your passion in the evening (or early morning). As draining as having a full-time job and a new business is, having a main gig helps fund your passion. It gives you the mental and emotional freedom to be confident in your new venture. Once your new side business is making about 60% of your income, you can probably afford to let the day job go. Until then, be smart.

What’s most important to remember is that your life is yours. It’s not to be lived solely for other people. Some people live their entire lives with one eye always on what other people think. First of all, most people don’t really care. If you stand up for yourself, the chatter will stop.

Secondly, anyone who expects you to live your life solely to please them probably does NOT have your best interests at heart. But, if the concerned parties are immediately family members, such as a spouse or kids, they may simply be afraid. They don’t want to end up homeless behind your new “passion.” That’s totally understandable. Take things slow, make the transition conservatively, and let them see your enthusiasm. You can even enlist their help. Once they catch your vision, and see you making  progress, their fears will subside.

So, start brainstorming! What’s your passion? What lights you up? Do you want to make money with it, or will you keep it as a hobby? How do you feel about your day job? The best answers start with the right questions.

Peace and love,

Raven

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