Doing what you love is so much easier said than done. If asked, "Would you like to spend your life doing what you love to do?" most people would probably respond with a resounding "YES!" But how many of us are actually doing it? How many of us are even trying to do it? Most of us aren't and there's a good reason why we're not: it's hard. Some people are lucky enough to fall into a great opportunity in which their passion can be their career, but for most of us, creating a career based on what we love to do takes hard work and a lot of emotional, financial, and mental effort.
About 15 months ago, I left my full-time job in Marketing to pursue my passion: writing (specifically, writing for Positively Present). It took a long time for me to get to the point where I was ready to leave the security of my job, but once I took the leap, I was thrilled. Finally I was able to spend my days as I'd always dreamed I would: writing and researching and enjoying life! For a while, that's what it was: exciting and inspiring, freeing and exhilarating. And then reality set in. Out of nowhere arrived the days of struggling to stay motivated, the daunting tasks of keeping track of taxes and tackling never-ending to-do lists. What had once filled with me absolute joy—writing—was now my job, and somehow that made it a lot less exciting.
Pursuing my passion full-time wasn't exactly what I thought it would be—and it's so much more work than I had imagined!—but there are those moments when I am so blissfully happy doing what I love, what I feel inspired by, and those moments make every difficult task I have to conquer, every hour of stress and frustration, completely and entirely worth it. Even when it's hard, I'm spending my time doing what I love—and that's something I wish everyone could experience. Turning your passion into a career can be so rewarding, but it's not something most of us can do easily. It takes time, patience, effort, and just a little bit of luck. Here's my advice for getting started:
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU LOVE.
We often think we love something, but it's not until you're doing it every single day do you realize how you really feel about something. Whatever you're passionate about, make sure you love it so much that you couldn't live without it. Make sure that you could do it every day—live, breathe, and sleep it—before you consider turning it into a career. I've learned that making a career out of a passion changes the way you see it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's something to be aware of. Be certain that what you're passionate about it's a passing phase and ask yourself these questions: Could I do this for the rest of my life? Would I do this every day even if no one paid me to do it? When I'm doing it, do I feel alive and excited? Do I want to do it as much as I can, whenever I can?
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
When it comes to turning your passion into a career, you've got to know what you're getting into. Do as much research as you can: on the industry you're interested in, on the taxes you'll be responsible for, on issues like health care and additional financial needs. All of that stuff might sound boring to you (I know how you feel!), but when you start doing your research, you'll see just how much goes into pursuing a passion full-time. If, after doing all of your research, you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, you're not alone. But if, after all that, you still want to go after what you love, you know that it's something that really matters to you. Research helps to put it all in perspective and it's a great way to find out how committed you truly are to what you're passionate about.
CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.
Passionate people, that is. The more you connect with those who are passion about what they do, the more insight and inspiration you'll get. You don't even have to connect with people in your future industry (though that's always a nice bonus!). Just find people who really, truly love what they do and ask them how they got to where they are. Ask for advice. Ask for help. Even if you're launching into a solo passion, like writing, you still need the help of other people to get you where you want to go. Don't be afraid to reach out to people (even those you don't know!) and seek inspiration. The more you surround yourself with passionate people, those who love what they do, the more motivated and inspired you'll be.
MAP OUT A ROUTE.
At some point, you have to put the passion on paper—and the best way to get started is by mapping out a route. Imagine it as a journey from Point A to Point B. Here you are the beginning, still doing something you don't love and longing to get to a place where you can do what you're passionate about. How are you going to get to Point B, that place where you can do what you love as a career? You have to create a plan. Break everything down into small steps—your financial needs and goals, your business ideas and dreams—and set a timeline for everything. You may find yourself deviating from the plan, but as long a you keep moving in the direction of your ultimate goal, you will inevitably arrive there. Just keep going.
Doing what you love to do sounds like a dream come true, but it's actually a lot of hard work. Before going for it, be sure you really, really want it because there will be a lot of days that are tough and being certain about what you want is one of the best ways to conquer the down days. Even though it's hard, most of us would be so much happier if we spent our days doing what we love to do. So if you don't love what you're doing, find a way to start doing what you love.