You wake up and start to feel despair. “Today will suck”, you muse to yourself as you get up. You suddenly realise that your life is not what you wanted it to be. That by this age, you thought you would have achieved and done so many things. As you wander through your house to get ready for a job you despise but do because it pays for stuff. You look around at the stuff you have accumulated over your life. You feel nothing.
Is it all worth it? Really?
To feel and live a life that has turned a darker shade of grey. Where you are living every day on autopilot, doing repetitive tasks, eating the same lunch, laughing at the same office shenanigans, hanging out with people who you really couldn’t care less about. And to spend a large percentage of your day, in fact your life living this way.
You work up the courage to speak to someone, perhaps a relative or friend, maybe the person you share an office with and say “I’m not happy in my job anymore. There must be something else. I want to enjoy the work I do every day.”
Now depending on who you have confided in, you have likely heard the advice to “Do what you love, and never work a day in your life” or something akin to that.
What a novel concept to do work that you love to do?
Perhaps the advice given was more a long the lines of “not everyone can do work they love, someone has to do the unpleasant jobs, otherwise they won’t get done”.
Finding and doing what you love, is far more complex than what we realise, and requires some dedicated focus and attention if you are going to be successful at living it.
Work vs Play
Depending on where and how you were raised, the concept of work and fun have never truly been synonymous with one another. Work has always been something you did because of some sort of necessary means, for money, to buy things, for prestige, because you were told to.
Even as children the idea of work was doing chores which we perceived as not fun, which we were generally ordered to do, as opposed to playing which was ultimately fun. We watched the adults go to work all day, come home and maybe play if they had the energy and patience. Weekends were reserved for fun and play and family time.
We have separated work from fun over the generations and allowed ourselves to be okay with suffering in the work we do, believing it as a sacrifice or some type of martyrdom to achieve something we wish to attain. We live for those small moments of freedom from work, to play and have fun.
The concept of spare time (downtime, play time) has somehow become a prize to spending time suffering and enduring the pain of work.
Generally, what we love is play, the fun stuff that lights us up and that we tend to do outside of “work time”. Our passions, talents and skills play a large part of doing what we love. Yet somehow, we can’t seem to associate and integrate the things we love to do, with our jobs.
The first part of this complex paradigm is our conditioning and mindset on the work vs play concept that needs to be overcome.
Have a think about how you perceive work and play (or life). Are they different notions in your mind and in your life? Do you live for the weekends and holidays or knock off time each day?
What if life and work were just life? Hint: it actually is…
If you are here reading this then it’s time for you to start to make that mindset adjustment, that its all just life. There is no separation as we have always been led to believed.
If it’s all just life, what then would make life fun for you?
What distracts us… momentarily
A whole generation has been born into the “do what you love”, “laptop lifestyle”, “be an entrepreneur”, “work for yourself and never work again” era.
People seem to associate doing what they love to mean they should leave their current work, start a business, travel the world working from their laptop, or find a way to work 4hrs a week while earning 6-figure plus incomes.
I am not saying these things are not possibilities, but they seem to be the most commonly focused on ideas that people have when they first start to explore doing work they love. It is almost like a quick fix, or silver bullet to all their problems. They see other people succeeding at this lifestyle and that is what they believe they need to get out of their situation.
The truth is, is that you can leave your job, start that business, travel the world and still realise one day, that you are not truly living the life you dreamed of, a life that fulfils you completely. In fact, you may come to realise that you are living someone’s version of a life of doing work you love.
What we have created is a new mindset around how to “do what you love”. We have moved from the dull, open office, drudgery of cubicles and mindless work to this new “exciting way of life”. Filled with freedom, travel, working less hours and having more “fun” time and still earning a plethora of money.
Note that this is not a bad thing. It is just how we have been evolving our beliefs around work and the type of lifestyle we wish to lead. This type of lifestyle is heavily based on the concept of Freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom to work whatever hours, freedom to travel, freedom to be our own boss, financial freedom, freedom to chill out and have fun, when and where you like.
This is not surprising given that when we are not in alignment with the work we are doing, the most common feeling is one of being imprisoned, chained to our work and desks, having and seeing no way out. Freedom is what we believe we are seeking, and it is a very strong emotion that drives us.
More people are starting to realise that this kind of lifestyle is not what they are chasing neither. There is still something missing that they are seeking that will allow them to truly say “I love what I do”.
What is it that you are really chasing?
The question you may need to ask yourself is “Are you really wanting to do work you love?” or is it more about living a lifestyle that you choose without feeling stuck, or obligated to work in the job you have? The ability to create, make decisions and the freedom to speak and be heard?
Chasing work that you love, tends to be an external journey where we try to the find the thing that makes us happy, pays the bills and that you are reasonably good at. If it encompasses your passions, talents and strengths then that’s even better.
We may go through many iterations and experimentation, failures and successes trying to find that thing that meets all our criteria. We may never actually find it neither because we are trying to fulfil an external need. Our shopping list of ideals for what we want may not all get crossed off, or we may keep chopping and changing trying to tick all the boxes and still not find what we are looking for, becoming restless in our search for that illusive job we believe must exist.
Meaning and Purpose
Another way to look at finding and doing work you love, begins from an internal journey of self and lies in becoming self-aware. In understanding who you are, what you want in life, experimenting to find that thing that lights you up and having the courage to chase your dreams.
The internal journey to self-discovery and finding purpose and meaning is a path less travelled and for good reason. It is not the easiest nor immediately gratifying as other external pursuits. However, taking this path of finding purpose and meaning will lead you to truly finding and doing work that lights you up.
Each of us is unique and are here to contribute in our own unique way, so we will never find the same path another is taking as satisfying nor fulfilling. We must create our own unique path and journey. The work we do will be unique to us and will be perfect for us and no one else.
And it all starts with understanding our purpose, who we truly are and what lifestyle we wish to live.
Finding and doing work that you love, is not as straight forward as some may have you believe. It is far more complex then just “doing what you love”, or following your heart, or finding and using your talents, or turning your passions into profits.
There is no one size fits all solution to it neither as each of us are here to contribute in our own unique way.
Times have changed, and we are seeking a deeper connection to the work we do, to be of service and contribute in our own unique way while still being able to live the lifestyle we choose.
We are driven to make a unique contribution of service to the world and not starve.
If you are chasing a practical way to start your journey, then ask yourself this simple question…
“Would you do the work, even if you didn’t get paid for it?”
Don’t over think it, nor try to force an answer.
If you can answer yes to this question, then you are well on your way to finding and doing work you love and contributing to the world in your unique way.
If you are seeking some clarity about finding purpose and doing work you love, get in touch for a free chat today.