We all want to love what we do.
But is it just impractical to think we can have work we love?
I mean, maybe dream jobs and amazing businesses are just for the lucky few?
I don’t think so.
You can have work you love too, but there’s a trick to how you go about looking for it.
A formula even. . .
But what do you need to be aware of? What do you need to look for first?
I’m going to tell you what I’ve found to be true when helping my clients find dream jobs and start businesses they love.
Finding Work You Love
How much can you really love your work?
It’s a reasonable question to ask. After all, if you’re going to make the leap from your current job (as awful as it may be) to the unknown, it at least better be worth it.
So how can you really know if it’s going to be a good fit? The first step is to define what really lights you up inside.
Some people would disagree with this, saying that you first need to look at your talents or your skills, but I don’t think that’s the right path.
I’ll tell you why.
We’re all really conditioned to look at what we’re good at, and we’re especially good at recognizing what we’re bad at. There are also plenty of tests out there to show us our strengths, talents and skills.
But our passions are a bit more difficult. Nailing down what lights us up or what we truly want can be really hard.
An Organized View of Career Choices
Let me tell you about a client I have right now.
He sent me a chart with some of his top career choices listed out on one side, and along the other side he listed the criteria he was using to weigh what he liked about the jobs.
Here’s his (awesome) chart:
Here’s a close up of part of it in case your eyes are going 🙂
What you can see from this chart is that using some real-world criteria about what you might want and need in a career can help you make some choices about what might be a good fit for you – things like salary and how much the job will allow you to utilize creativity. For this reason, charts like this are great.
But there’s something here that this chart didn’t capture, and part of the reason why I think pursuing an understanding of your passion is so important from the beginning.
If you were to look at this chart, you might advise this client to throw out some of the bottom scoring careers, like musician, writer, or personal trainer.
The problem is this:
Guess where this client likes to spend most of his free time? The gym.
Guess what he loves to do? Music.
The point is that it’s so hard to capture the intangibles when you try to look at things logically.
It is possible to love your work, but to find it you first need to give yourself time to understand what you’re really passionate about and what you’d love to do.
Passion is like a scared little kid. It can run and hide at the slightest provocation.
Because people sometimes feel that they don’t deserve to be (or can’t or shouldn’t) living their passions or loving their work, they find reasons to shut down the brainstorming that could happen related to finding work they love.
So instead of asking themselves “How could I make this dream I have work?” They think, “This would never work.”
Even before they really entertain a thought about a career, they’ve closed off the possibility that it could be real – sometimes even laughing at it. “I could never. . . ” or “Yeah right!”
That’s why spending the time you need to on really coaxing out your passions and understanding what you really want to do is so important.
We can get caught up very easily in what’s practical, what our skills lend themselves to, what we think someone would actually hire us to do, what we think is within the realm of possibility, or what we think is within our grasp. . .
and of course all of these things are important.
But since we’re so great at narrowing the field in this way and seeing what can’t happen, why not first make sure the possibilities you’re narrowing from are ONLY possibilities you’re really excited about?
That way you’d be sure your final choice was something that was practical, you were skillful at, something you could be hired to do and something you felt passionate about.
Starting from “practicalities” just looks at what’s possible for you, not at what you’d really be happier doing.
But if you identify something and it’s something you really love, instead of looking at it and saying “no way!” you’ll be saying “where is the way?”
It’s only by finding your passion first that you can assess what really is practical and what isn’t, because practicalities are actually all relative. You’ll make something practical if you want it bad enough!
So get out there and find your passions, start to define what you want, and open your mind to what within that group of ideas will actually work in the real world.