***As originally published in COCO Magazine***
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement address
In an age when the ‘DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO’ mantra seems to permeate every facet of our life, how exactly do you take the leap to ‘DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO’?
What are you passionate about? If you’re not exactly sure, here are a few questions to get the ball rolling (once none of these questions elicit any illegal acts then you’re already on the right track):
- What did you love doing as a child?
- What would you do if money was no object?
- Will you be happier doing this?
- What do you dream of doing?
- Ask family and trusted friends what they think you’re good at.
Once you ask those questions map out your plan to begin to journey to your passion. Most people are great at the first part above, identifying what they’re passionate about, but very few take steps towards it.
The thing about dreams (and when I speak of dreams in this instance, I’m not referring to what happens when you’re sleeping – though they could – I’m speaking more of that urgent passion, that internal hunger to do ‘that thing’) is that they never die. At times the dream might be a full-blown fire, other times it might resemble a tiny flicker…but it’s always there. Your dream doesn’t just go away because you try not to think about it or because you’re too busy with life to make moves towards it. It’s there and the passion to see that dream come true will continue to nag at your very being until you take the steps to make them reality.
So, once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about, you absolutely have to:
- Research: Learn, learn, learn. There’s no substitute for good old learning. Learn about your competition, learn about the tools that are available to help you, learn about the risks that you’ll have to take, learn what you’re willing to do or not willing to do to accomplish your dream. Do your research and learn.
- Find a mentor in that field: I cannot tell you how beneficial mentors are. When you find the right one, they can take you places, connect you with people, and help you hone your craft. Everyone should have a mentor. Find one.
- Volunteer in that field: Let’s face it; if you’re not working in your current ‘passion’, volunteering isn’t going to hurt. You’re not making money not doing your ‘passion’, so not making money doing your ‘passion’ shouldn’t be a big deal. Besides…it’s just a means to an end. Volunteer and serve well!
- Just do it and own it: We can all find excuses why we can’t do things, why something wouldn’t work. But let’s do away with the excuses. At the very least, it’ll change your outlook on life. What’s that saying? Fake it until you make it?
As selfish as it sounds, it’s important for you to be happy. When you’re happy, you’ll be better equipped to help those around you. So if you’re looking for that push, that inspiration to take the next step toward fulfilling your dream, all I ask is that you don’t settle.