Doing What You Love For a Living: The Key to a Happy Life
What’s your dream job? We all have passions and dreams, which those who are lucky enough pursue from day 1 they land a job, while others have to work harder. Doing what you love for a living is the key to a happy life. Even if opportunity knocks on your door a little later in life, don’t dismiss it with a ‘too late’ sardonic grin. So what if you’re over 40? Did you know that Morgan Freeman got his first big part when he was already 50? Never give up on your dream, it’s still your chance to shine. They say that ‘Miracles happen to those who wait,’ but that can be slightly tweaked to ‘Miracles happen to those who wait, work hard, learn a lot, and persevere.’ After all, what is life if not a great journey that leads you to a big discovery, and your professional life is no exception.
What if you were to listen to your calling, what would you do? Of course, this does not mean that you have to quit your current job the very instant you read this article and go into a hunt for the right profession. But try to find a slot for some self-discovery in your already super-busy agenda. Just let your imagination flow and you’ll see how doing something you love (even if for only an hour a day) can make you enjoy your day and even be more productive in your current job!
The Key to a Happy Life
Give In to Your Inner ‘Demon’
At least once in our lifetime we have all probably heard that deep, inner voice calling ‘It’s time!’ and felt an irresistible urge to follow it. If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s high time you were true to yourself. It may be hard or even seem impossible in the beginning, but once you get a clear idea of what path to pursue and why, you will realize it is definitely not something that you can ignore.
No time? Make Time!
Missing the good old childhood days when you could do the one thing you love most whenever you wanted? Well, you still can! You only need to step back, breathe a little, turn back time and remember what you were absolutely fascinated about as a kid and really lost track of time while doing that. Buddhist and Taoist philosophies embrace the concept of ‘flow,’ which has been defined as a total immersion into one’s activity. Psychologists say that there is a physical or creative outlet that as a child allowed you to feel outside of yourself and yet connected to everything else around you at the same time when doing a particular activity that totally absorbed you. Try to remember what that was and find time to do it, at least once a week.
Spend Some Time Out in the Open
Experts say that people who spend most of their time in nature are more optimistic, creative and better connect with their inner self, which leads to better balance in their rapport with the outside world. Did you ever notice that inspiration strikes you when you go for a walk in the park, hike, swim or jog? It’s not at all a coincidence. After all, in the past, humans lived in harmony with nature. So we may be evolved, but nature is still ‘in our blood.’ Therefore, embracing a healthy lifestyle includes embracing nature.
Find a Way to Make Your Passion Make You Money
To make your dream happen, you need to determine how you can financially profit from it, says Melanie Connellee, executive coach and president of MLC Group. Scary? Puzzling? Or both? Just relax, sit back and brainstorm! Look at it from different angles, the buyer’s, the end user’s, and the audience. These are your key ‘actors’ you need to focus on, in Connellee’s opinion.
For instance, if you have a passion for photography or painting, there are several ways you could profit from that, either by working in a gallery, doing portraits or taking photos at special events.
Set Realistic Goals
Dreaming big and setting your goals high is more than OK, but at the same time, you need to be realistic about it. David Ruch, performer and teaching artist, is one of the people who did that. In 1992 he gave up a suit-and-tie job in marketing to pursue the music career he’d always dreamed of. Things may not be very smooth in the beginning he says. Doing a job you really love is not at all a utopia, but you have to be prepared to work twice as hard, as you’ll be an entrepreneur… And as an entrepreneur, you’ll ‘be wearing several new hats that might not fit quite so well at first,’ Ruch says. Treat your passion like a job and you’ll see miracles ‘at work.’ Odds are also that you won’t mind or even feel like you’re working longer hours because you BELIEVE in what you do and you’ll have your body and soul invested in it.
Connect with Supportive People
Leaving your current job to follow your passion is never easy. Sara DiVello knows it better than anyone, because she did it, leaving her corporate PR job (which, let’s face it, it is financially rewarding and enjoyable) to become a yoga trainer and author. In her opinion, the key trigger to pursuing your true passion dauntlessly is to surround yourself with supportive people. In some cases, coworkers are not exactly the best supporters. They may feel discouraged themselves, so they may even discourage you. Friends or family instead are more likely to encourage you to go forward, DiVello says. After all, who else can make us feel less alone and braver if not our loved ones?
Seek and Find Mentors
When pursuing a vocational career, it is important to engage with and find peers and mentors to guide you along the way.
Are you active on social media? If you aren’t, you’d better start! In an increasingly digitally-oriented world, not having at least one social media profile is almost unthinkable. So, get social! If you’re already an active member of an online community, the best you can do is to identify people in and outside your network who hold your dream job or something close to it and start a conversation. "If you don't know people well, initiating conversation via LinkedIn is a great way to start. Tell them you are making a career change and conducting research and due diligence to make a well-informed move,” says Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Resume Strategists. She even goes further to suggest delving deeper into the matter and, since a question never hurt anyone, why not ask them about their background, challenges they faced along the way, how they landed their job and what useful tips and tricks they can share with you.
Career development webinars and similar online and offline events are also more than likely to give you useful insights. So, if you’re planning a major career move, such events are a must-attend. After the event, contact the speakers and ask them to give you an insight into what they do and what could they advise you. After all, people have also enjoyed talking about themselves and their achievements, and you can benefit from their experience. Why not give it a shot?
Think Carefully about the Environment You Want to Be In
The job per se is important, however, it’s not the only element of the career move equation that you need to carefully think about. The working environment is also very important. To give you a tip, ask yourself these questions: Whom do I want to work with? How would I fit in? For instance, if you’re not necessarily creative, but you enjoy being around creative people like graphic designers or photographers, why not go for a job in an advertising agency or a publishing house? After all, it’s not the creative minds that keep the business afloat. They deliver the creative product, yes, but what would they be without sales people, account managers, editors, technicians, you name it?
Don’t Sit on Your Shirt
The longer you wait to make a career change to something you really love, the less likely you are to ever go ahead and do it. Are you buzzing with ideas? Are you what some may call ‘psychologically unemployable,’ or in other words, a leader rather than a follower? If the answer is ‘yes’ in both cases, then opening your own business would be a brilliant idea. The road ahead may be challenging, but you’ll be less likely to fail and take risks, given your previous experience.
Never Stop Learning
Before you make a radical move, sign up to some management and/or marketing classes. The knowledge acquired there will definitely help you promote your business and better engage with your audience.
According to Ben Seidel, president and founder of Igniting Business, says that people who want to make a step forward in their career and pursue something that absorbs them totally should first spend some time studying the area they want to be working in. This, he says, will ‘gauge your talent and endurance.’ So, what are you waiting for? See what tutoring institutes are in your area and what classes they offer, sign up and get certified (if you’re not already)!
Leave Pride Aside
Starting over is never easy. As glamorous and mind-blowing as it may seem, the only way in which you can win people over is by staying humble. At least this is what Jana Glowatz, founder and CEO of Jana Public Relations, advises. She also experienced a radical career change and she started small.
Her best advice is ‘swallow your pride.’ After many years in the real estate and finance industry, she always knew her true calling was the media and advertising. What she did was go back to learning by doing, working as an intern side by side with recent graduates or even undergraduates. Age is not an issue, it’s all about the experience you have in the field you want to be working in. Sometimes having the talent and the desire for something is not enough, it takes a lot of work and effort if you want to succeed. Have a willingness to learn and gain in-depth hands-on experience in the field of industry you’d love to work in. Think big, but start small!
Find a Way to Validate Your Decision
Are you on the verge of starting your own business, but have serious doubts you can do it? You’re not the only one. Halona Black, writer, education and digital publishing consultant has swum through the same troubled waters as you. Here are her tips:
While doubting yourself in the beginning is natural, don’t let your doubts get to you. Start by tweaking your CV, print business cards and… START A BLOG.
Black said that starting a blog and maintaining it helped her believe in her goals even when she was not 100% sure she believed in her vision, and yes, you got it, it helped her business tremendously. A blog raises brand awareness, not to mention if it is well promoted online, it boosts your e-marketing efforts and sales. In short, it creates a platform for you to convert leads into loyal customers! Maintaining a blog provides the validating experience that you need.
You’re Not Alone
If you’re one of those people who think that doing something you love means starting your own business, think again. Joe Weinlick, senior vice president at Beyond.com stresses that this is not always the case (or it doesn’t have to be).
If you feel you can’t do it all on your own, try to find a company specializing in an area close to your dream job and try to get a job there. At least, this is what Beyond.com’s career-hacker suggests.
For instance, if you’re a social media addict, are imaginative and like writing, then try to find a job at a company running and online media platform.
Patience Moves Mountains
While turning your hobby into a full-time job may sound like a dream, but you need to be patient and give it time to grow. The road ahead may not be easy, but, hey, what is easy in life after all? You know what they say, ‘do what you love and the money will follow.’ There must be some grain of truth in it, don’t you think? Yeosh Bendayan, owner of Push Button Productions proved it. If it took him and his peers nearly two years to ‘comfortably afford their salaries,’ it may take you just about the same. The key thing is not to get disheartened, move on and work harder if you have to.
Numerous studies have shown that people who do what they love for a living tend to earn more and find better work-life balance. Loving what you do makes you more productive!
Main Reasons why Doing Something You Love for a Living is the Key to a Happy Life
Need more convincing? Far be it from us the thought that we own the ultimate life hack that leads to happiness, not at all. But, people who followed these few tips said they were:
More fulfilled – Philip Ryan, E-Edge director at Vivaldi Partners Group says it tends to become more and more important to love what you’re doing. As the line between private and professional life fades away, with the professional life literally invading your personal life (or in some cases takes full control over your private life), your job is much more than the money you take home. ‘People don't want to make widgets, they want to change lives, including their own,’ Ryan said.
More productive - doing an activity that draws you in hardly gives you the feeling you’re actually working. Without keeping your eyes on the watch, time flies and the work gets done. It’s been tested and it works, experts say.
More motivated – an engaging job gives you extra motivation to succeed.
Inspired their peers and family – when you love what you do, you’re involved, and when you’re involved you believe, when you believe you can inspire others. It’s simple, only believing in what you do gives you the power to take initiative, encourage and inspire your peers. It’s the power of example. A working mom can become a role model to her kids by making them understand that finding a profession you love does not only give you financial independence but can also be fulfilling and lead to success.
In better mental health – it goes almost without saying that the moment you find something that keeps the wheels in your head turning, the better off your mental health will be.
Willing to learn and constantly improve – being in love with your job, you’re more likely to stay actively interested in what you do and the quality that you deliver. Hence, you’ll constantly want to better yourself and learn as much as possible and perhaps even a little bit more about the field of industry you’re working in.
Tackled industry challenges easier – the way to success is not paved with diamonds and gold, but hard work. Sometimes you need to face challenges and harsh competition. Without a deep-seeded belief in what you do and your brand, it is impossible to make people buy into your story. Only this allows you to constantly develop and improve your brand/products or services and attract new business. Take every challenge as an opportunity to learn and beautiful things will follow!
Happy while working – Love your job? If so, it feels more like fun than work, and according to Michael Phillips, CEO of Coconut’s Fish Café ‘It makes it easier to get through the trials and tribulations of business ownership.’
Better served others – Passion always translates into better service. Long story short, if you’re fanatic about what you do, you’ll be more likely to keep your customers happy, make them return and get good referrals. After all, when people are happy or unhappy with something they have no hesitation to spread the word about it on social media first. This is the way to grow your business!