Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Steve Jobs
The way we view work is changing. Many of us are no longer satisfied with having one job for our whole lives or doing work just for a pay check. We want work that challenges and excites us, which lights us up. How do we find work that we love?
A few years ago, I read about a guy called Steve Aitkin who tried 52 different jobs in one year. This challenge might not be for everyone, but the idea is a great one and shows that trying different roles helps you to get clarity about what you really enjoy doing for work. If you really have no idea what you would like to do, what better way to find out what you enjoy than trying different things? In the old days, trying too many different jobs was frowned upon but times have changed and trying different jobs can be a really great way to work out what you love doing.
It is a good idea to think about what you absolutely love doing; the thing or things that you would still do even if you didn’t get paid for them. It is often said that the key to doing work you love is to find the sweet spot between what you love doing and what other people are looking for or need, which makes a lot of sense.
Often, the biggest challenge to overcome is our own minds and beliefs about what is possible for us around work. We need to be open to and believe that we can find a way to earn money doing something we love. There are people in the world getting paid for what you love doing right now. You can get paid for playing and designing video games, drawing, writing, playing sport and sport coaching to name a few. The trick is believing it is possible and then taking steps towards making that a reality.
What really lights you up? Who do you look at and wish that you had their job? I always loved seeing writers in films and on TV and it gradually dawned on me that it was because I had always wanted to be a writer too. Pay attention to these feelings, they are sign posts on your journey to discovering what you enjoy doing.
It can be easy to get disheartened at times or think that other people are “lucky” or “more gifted”. It is important to notice when you are making excuses and to stay positive. Keep reminding yourself that doing work you love is possible. Read inspirational stories about other people who do work that inspires them. Surround yourself with people who support you and believe it is possible too. You could hire a coach to support you through this process.
For many years I worked in different jobs and didn’t know what I really loved doing. Each job (even the ones I hated) took me closer to learning more about what I wanted to do. Now that I love my work, I am thankful that I didn’t give up asking the questions. Don’t get disheartened or let other people who don’t love their work convince you it isn’t possible. The trick is to not give up!
Even if you love doing something, there are often many different ways to do that thing as a job. It is also worth thinking about how you enjoy doing that work too. For example, I realized I loved coaching, which was a great realization, but I also realized that I much preferred coaching people on a one to one basis than group coaching, so specialized in that. When talking about “finding our passion”, it can be easy to get fixated on an area of work, but it is really worth thinking about the reality of day to day life and what your ideal set up is too. Do you enjoy working alone or do you thrive as part of a team? Maybe you need a bit of both? Do you prefer separating work from home or do you love the idea of being able to work in your pyjamas? Thinking about how you want to work makes it more likely that you will choose work that really suits you, as well as work that you love.
Managing your money well gives you more options and freedom which are important when striking out to find work you love. If you are in a job that you dislike, but spending all your wages going out at the weekend, it will be harder to leave. Managing the money you already have well, means more options. You might be able to work less in that job you hate, giving you room to try work that you might love or maybe even start that side hustle you have been dreaming about. Whatever you want to do, living pay check to pay check reduces your freedom. It’s all about prioritizing and being clear about what is important to you. Even if you don’t quite know what you want to do yet, managing your money well is a great habit to get into and will open up more options for you in the future. You may then decide to take a year out and travel whilst you enquire into what you really love doing or start your business whilst living off savings. Good money management gives you more options and more freedom.