“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius
You can’t always turn your passions directly to profit, but you can use them as a guide to help you find work that engages you in the same way. Think about when you’re doing something you enjoy. Maybe it’s cooking or carpentry. It’s like a time warp. Time flies by. When you’re doing something you hate, on the other hand, the clock gets stuck. Time slows down. Your torture is prolonged. Find work that doesn’t feel like labor. Your work will feel more like living.
“Work to become, not to acquire.” — Elbert Hubbard
For a long time, I stayed at a job that wasn’t working for me for one simple reason: money. I couldn’t bear to make even $1,000 less per year. I’d worked hard to get to that salary and somewhere along the way, I got all wrapped up in that number. I didn’t need to make that much to pay my bills. But I didn’t want to let it go.
Money talks. I get that. And you have to eat. But if you want to do something different, keep your ego out of the action. When I finally gave up the old job, a funny thing happened. I started spending less. A lot less. Not just because I had less to spend, but because I suddenly felt happier with what I already had. I used to spend money because I felt I’d earned some pleasure. Now the pleasure comes free of charge.
“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” — George Lucas
If George Lucas hadn’t been a dreamer, he’d never have made “Star Wars.” And, of course, the world would be a much darker place. If you can build something in your imagination, you’re at least halfway to making it real. So, read things that inspire you. Buy travel magazines. Daydream more. Once you’ve planted those seeds, they never go away. All they can do is grow.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein
Life is really one big experiment. Sometimes your theory proves true and you get the outcome you expected. Sometimes it proves wrong. But you learn and you keep tinkering. Finding a dream career isn’t an exact science. That means you’ll probably have to try — and even fail — at a few things before you find paying work that you love. Or you can just stick to the job you know (and hate). Up to you.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” — Steve Jobs
Finding fulfilling work is about you. Maybe your mom expects you to be a doctor. Maybe you’ve spent your entire young life saying you’ll be an engineer. Maybe you’ve already trained to be a teacher, only to find you can’t stand the work. Here’s the truth: the only person who really has to live with the choices you make is you. Your mom will get over it.
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” — Brian Tracy
The best businesses deliver something of value. Sure, they do it for profit, but if value doesn’t remain the focus, business suffers. If you can’t deliver something of value — whether to your business or to an employer — your work suffers. And that’s bad news for your career. Think of it as career karma. The more you put in, the more you get back.
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” — Dalai Lama
In college, it’s easy to get the idea that a career is a straight-shot trajectory straight to the top. In reality, it’s a lot more… meandering. Sometimes you don’t get the jobs or promotions or opportunities you expected. Sometimes you even get laid off. And you almost never get exactly what you thought you wanted. What that means is that you get something else. Something you didn’t expect. Don’t just toss it aside. Have a look at it. It might be pretty cool.
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” — Deepak Chopra
Change is hard. It hurts a little. Sometimes it hurts a lot. I’d like to say that I have lots of peace and wisdom when life is difficult and chaotic; in reality I’m a basket case. But I try to remember that the hardest times often lead to the best times. That’s true in work, too. Making sacrifices for the career you want is hard, but sometimes you have to stir up a little chaos to create the change you’re looking for.