Do What You Love but without the Wrong Assumptions please.
Do what you love and love what you do. Such a cliche. Such a new age mantra. Such a lofty goal for the ordinary one. Such a … fancy lie?
What do you think when you hear the words “Do What You Love” in your career, your profession and for your life’s work?
There is no argument that it’s a feel-good advice. Do what you love. And it makes rational sense too. I mean, you wouldn’t want to do what you hate, would you? (We will just disregard the millions of people that do precisely what they hate on a daily basis or hate what they do, however you want to look at it.)
Having gone through this painful process first hand (because I wasn’t so brilliant to always do what I love, only as of recent years), I’d say the first problem is that we don’t believe we have a choice. We think we are stuck with the first path we chose moons ago based on circumstance or a parent’s advice or opportunity, and there is no changing course. Ever. (Ah but there is).
Assumptions are terrible things that keep us stuck, here are the first four about Do What You Love advice:
First wrong assumption: You believe that “do what you love” and “do what makes you money” are mutually exclusive. Meaning, you can have one or the other but not both.
Not true. Life isn’t so black and white and your lot in life is yours to decide. There is an intersection between something you love that also makes you money – I have stumbled on it but not by accident. This “serendipity” happens a lot more than you think and it can be a methodical well-thought-out planning process (I teach this in my Smart Exit Blueprint course all the time!).
Second wrong assumption: If you don’t know what you love from a young age like those self-assured kids that knew their life purpose at 14, then you are doomed.
Seriously, you have to get over this one fast. Julia Cameron, the author of “The Artist’s Way”, has a great response to those who say to her, “Do you know how old I will be if I start writing my book now?”, to which she responds, “The same age you will be if you don’t!”
If you didn’t pick what you loved in college or in the decade or three that followed, so what? Stop thinking your time for doing what you love has passed! That’s just your opinion, and a wrong one too. You can just as easily decide your time is now and make things happen.
Starting today, get old with your passion, not without it.
Third wrong assumption: You confuse “do what you love” with a state of being constantly in love and happy with your life.
Again, not true. Being in love and happy with your life is important and it happens a whole lot more and on a much deeper level when you are doing something you love and something that matters to you. But you will have days when life is hard, when things won’t go your way, and when nothing makes sense.
Because even doing what you love comes with doing some of what you don’t love, just as the person you adore has parts that you may not adore. Do you think twice about loving this person? Probably not. Well, neither will you think twice about giving up doing what you love even if it won’t be a walk in the park.
Fourth wrong assumption: Doing what you love has to sound cool to the whole world, and be completely life changing, and create a fortune of course.
Where do we get these awful ideas? You decide what is cool because this is about what you love – not what your neighbor or mother or best friend loves but hey, I totally get it. I remember being more interested in having a cool-sounding passion than the one aligned to my heart’s desires. That assumption stole away a few precious years. Don’t let that happen to you!
8 Things to Know before You Sign Up for “Do What You Love!”
So you want to do more of what you love and less of what you hate? Great! Now we are talking. Here’s 8 things to know before you sign up:
1. It’s not an all-or-nothing deal:
You can do what you love once a year, once a month or twice a day. It can be a random affair, a hobby, a side-hustle or a full-blown business. You Decide.
2. It is about understanding your core desires:
Doing what you love aligns to your desires. It expands your core desires and builds on them, rather than be in conflict. Know your core desires. If you desire freedom above all things, having a job and a boss would be in conflict with that desire. If you desire structure and direction and minimal risk, being a part of the right organization is in alignment with that desire.
3. It is okay to do it your way, not how others do it:
So what if John Smith the super duper entrepreneur moved to Asia to start his own business? Or if Jane Wright quit her job and started backpacking to write her book? Good for them and that may or may not be your way. Find Your Own Way. Don’t be a copycat. Learn from them but do your thing your way.
4. It needs to support and enhance your lifestyle:
If your lifestyle is not what you want and doing what you love will create that lifestyle, great. If your lifestyle is where you wish, then beware how doing what you love affects it. Ultimately, doing what you love needs to support your desired lifestyle, not limit or debilitate it.
5. It has nothing to do with easy and everything to do with happiness:
Doing what you love might be the hardest thing you have ever done. Often it is. If living an easy life is a core desire (see #2), then doing what you love for a living might pose an issue. Pursue the ‘easy path’ instead.
Little known fact: Working harder than you ever have at something you love creates happiness. Hard work at the right thing is the sweetest reward of all.
6. It is critical to know your why:
Why do what you love anyway? For some, it’s about filling an emptiness inside, a calling. For some, it’s about escaping their current hell, and yet for some, it’s about having fun and creating something unique, and for a few of us, it’s the only path to true wealth. Everyone is right. Nobody is wrong. As long as nobody is imposing their why on YOU!
What you need to do is figure out why – exactly why – you want to do what you love. Do this by asking yourself questions relentlessly until you get some clarity. (And if you need help, call me up because that’s what I love doing in my coaching calls!)
7. It could take a very long time to get “there”:
That’s right. Doing what you love itself may be fast if you have clarity on what it is you want to do, but turning it into a business and a means to a living can take time. You may choose to wait, or invest to expedite, or forget the whole thing. Just know that in most cases, this stuff takes time.
8. It can be an uphill battle with family, friends, and support systems:
Doing what you love is not exactly as exciting to your parents or your friends as it is to you. So please do yourself a favor and decide first if their opinion will weigh in your decision. The more honest you can be here with yourself, the less regrets wait to greet you down the road.
This is not a democracy. People don’t get to vote on what you love.
Your entire circle of friends and family and extended relatives do not need to “understand” or vote on what you love. Only you do. Rise to the occasion then. Stop playing small or being shy or humble here. Be the king, the queen, the god or the goddess, the peaceful warrior, the leader, the ultimate decision maker and guiding light of your life.
Decide what you love, steer clear of wrong assumptions along the way, figure out if you want to do what you love for an afternoon or for a living but for the love of whatever/whomever you love, make these heart-centered decisions on your own. Then go announce it to the world, and embrace all the reactions, whatever they may be.