Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.
Do what you love
To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: "Do what you love." But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.
The very idea is foreign to what most of us learn as kids. When I was a kid, it seemed as if work and fun were opposites by definition. Life had two states: some of the time adults were making you do things, and that was called work; the rest of the time you could do what you wanted, and that was called playing. Occasionally the things adults made you do were fun, just as, occasionally, playing wasn’t—for example, if you fell and hurt yourself. But except for these few anomalous cases, work was pretty much defined as not-fun.
The world then was divided into two groups, grownups and kids. Grownups, like some kind of cursed race, had to work. Kids didn’t, but they did have to go to school, which was a dilute version of work meant to prepare us for the real thing. Much as we disliked school, the grownups all agreed that grownup work was worse, and that we had it easy.
Teachers in particular all seemed to believe implicitly that work was not fun. Which is not surprising: work wasn’t fun for most of them. Why did we have to memorize state capitals instead of playing dodgeball? For the same reason they had to watch over a bunch of kids instead of lying on a beach. You couldn’t just do what you wanted.
I’m not saying we should let little kids do whatever they want. They may have to be made to work on certain things. But if we make kids work on dull stuff, it might be wise to tell them that tediousness is not the defining quality of work, and indeed that the reason they have to work on dull stuff now is so they can work on more interesting stuff later. [ 1 ]
Once, when I was about 9 or 10, my father told me I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up, so long as I enjoyed it. I remember that precisely because it seemed so anomalous. It was like being told to use dry water. Whatever I thought he meant, I didn’t think he meant work could literally be fun—fun like playing. It took me years to grasp that.
Learning how to do what you love
If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of making drastic changes to do what you love for a living, take baby steps. Getting to know yourself is the first step in learning to love what you do. Here are some ways to get in touch with what inspires you.
1. Focus on your strengths
Before you can learn how to do what you love, you must know what it is that you love to do! This is a process of self-discovery that puts you in touch with your core values, strengths and assets. In his Building the Ultimate Business Advantage course , marketing expert Jay Abraham states that many entrepreneurs are unhappy because they are constantly trying to improve their weaknesses. Jay advocates focusing on your strengths when deciding what type of business to start and putting a growth strategy in place. When you identify what you enjoy doing and the activities you’re able to master relatively quickly, you’ll achieve more meaningful successes that lead to fulfillment.
Creating a career where you do what you love for a living is about spending the majority of your time practicing and acting on your strengths. This isn’t just a recipe for increasing your passion for business, either – when potential customers see how passionate you are, they’re more likely to catch on, which dramatically increases your probability of business success .
2. Find your passions
The next step in developing a career in which you love what you do is in thinking clearly about your purpose . What empowers you ? What do you wish you could wake up and do every day? These answers must fall in line with what your strengths are. For some people, the ability to do what you love means helping others. For a different person, it’s expressing their thoughts and feelings creatively. Others value travel or spending time with their family. Once you’ve really thought about what living an extraordinary life looks like for you, consider how you’ll achieve it.
Start Doing What You’re Passionate About
So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely a lack of passion.
For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about  .
Do What You Love Quotes
Then you know the story: they dread waking up during the week, live for the weekend, and spend the majority of their waking hours the rest of their life doing something that’s not for them. How awful is that?
2. When asked, “Mr. Gandhi, you have been working fifteen hours a day for fifty years. Don’t you think you should take a vacation?” Gandhi smiled and replied, “I am always on vacation.” — Gandhi
6. Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart, and success will come to you. — Oprah Winfrey
7. Any human being is really good at certain things. The problem is that the things you’re good at come naturally. And since most people are pretty modest instead of an arrogant S.O.B. like me, what comes naturally, you don’t see as a special skill. It’s just you. It’s what you’ve always done. — Stephen Jay Gould
11. I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love. – Jim Carrey
13. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. — Steve Jobs
21. I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. — Steve Jobs
23. The people who make it to the top — whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos — are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid. — Quincy Jones
Do What You Love vs. Love What You Do
What is it about the post-baby-boomer generations who struggle so with having to work for a living, especially having to work a job one doesn’t want to do?
I suppose it has to do with the conflicting modern messages about chasing your dreams. Raised by parents who endured the depression, baby boomers were more often told they were lucky to have a job, any job. Perhaps younger generations have softened.
A friend challenged me and said that there are exceptions, that not everyone can do what they love. After initially feeling sad about this pessimistic notion, especially as one raised to always chase your dreams, more pondering has led me to an expanded view.
No, not everyone should chase their passion. In fact, chasing your passion can be a dangerous game. I’m reading a highly recommended book right now called So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. I think any of you caught in a predicament similar to my friend should read this book. Actually, I recommend it to all of you. Exploring the idea that chasing your passions isn’t always the best answer, the author uses very fine examples like the great surfboard shaper Al Merrick, comedian Steve Martin, and then lesser-known individuals with more common jobs like administrative cubicle work, masonry, etc. Cal is a brilliant guy, and I’m sure I’ll read his next two books, which look equally thought-provoking.
Anyway… are there exceptions? Are we wasting life unless we’re doing what we love? I still say yes, but not exactly in the way that you might think. I suppose I could bring my own life experience in as an example and jumping off point.
Falling in love with the banjo, I majored in music in college and then moved to Nashville with a band. I was doing what I loved. Until I wasn’t. The stresses of making my passion an occupation pushed me up against a wall. Not only did the pressure start to drain the joy of playing, but I was also shown the guts of the music business. Let me tell you, what I saw wasn’t pretty.