Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead.
The greatest change happens because of people that are deeply passionate, and have a great love for the work they do.
If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about.
No other choice can have a greater impact on the planet, or your life.
If you’re doing work that’s boring, you probably won’t make much of an impact. You might provide people with some amount of value. Enough to pay your rent, enough to get by. But you won’t be inciting change. And you certainly won’t be inspiring others.
If you’re doing boring work, chances are you do just enough to not get fired.
But if you do work that excites you, keeps you up at night, and fulfills you… you’ll do more. You’ll give yourself to it completely. You’ll put in extra time, more energy, more passion. Because it’s worth it. It’s satisfying.
At the end of the day you’ll think: “My time was well spent today.”
So the real question isn’t whether or not to do boring or passionate work. The question is how to get started.
Five things you can do to move toward getting paid to do what you love:
- Find your passion. This is all about your great love, and what makes you come alive. To get started here, ask: “What am I insanely interested in?” “What could I talk about for hours?” and “What would I do for free?”
- Find your strengths. What we’re looking for are things you’re naturally good at, and the unique strengths you’ve had since birth. This is about contributing your gifts to the world. To get started, interview your friends, family, or peers and ask them what three things you’re naturally talented at.
- Find your value. Finding the intersection between what you’re good at and what people are willing to pay you for is what it all boils down to. If you can’t find a way to get paid to do what you love, the other stuff doesn’t really matter. So it’s worth spending some time figuring this out. To get started, think about the benefits you’ll give others by contributing your value. Think about whether or not there is a desperate pain or a deep passion involved in what you’re offering.
- Make the commitment. I think, more than any other reason, people fail to succeed is because they fail to commit. Thinking “I don’t know” or “maybe someday” will not get you to the point of doing what you’re passionate about for a living. It takes an uncompromising commitment to make this change for yourself. Instead of thinking “I don’t know,” think “I’ll figure it out.” Remember, paths are made by walking.
- Be willing to let go. As much as you might want to make this change for yourself, it can be hard to let go of the old patterns of thinking and behaving. A lot of us have ideas that “work shouldn’t be fun” or “you should just suck it up.” Breaking down those beliefs can be difficult, but moving toward a new direction is most definitely worth it.
- What will you give up? You might not think that you have time to take on a new endeavor, and you’re right. You won’t have time until you make the time. There are a lot of things we place in our schedules that we think we must do. But in reality, our world wouldn’t collapse if we chose something else. Make a list of all the activities and time sinks that you’ll give up in order to make time for your new journey.
- Will you say Yes to yourself? You may want to become a writer, dentist, life coach, painter, or public speaker. If you know that this is what you’re meant to do, then give yourself permission to call yourself that… even if you’re not established yet. And even if you don’t make a full time income from it. Own your passion, completely and unreservedly.
While there is more to your journey than just these seven things, this is a huge start. Clarity and commitment are the biggest steps, the rest is easy. One foot in front of the other.
You will get there. No one can stop you if you want it enough.
And remember, the world needs you to do what you love. Nothing else can create more change, or have a greater impact.
Give yourself permission. We need your gifts.
This article was written by Zen Habits contributor, Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind.