It’s at the heart of so many inspirational aphorisms. You’ve probably seen some variation of it posted on social media in the form of a motivational poster. The idea is that it’s supposed to invigorate you, encouraging you to pursue your dream. If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Do what you love and the money will follow.
These certainly sound nice… if it weren’t for the fact that they’re not true. Or rather they’re completely deceptive and overly simplistic. Even if you are so lucky as to find a job that you enjoy doing, you’re not going to love every day of it.
And even if you love what you do, you’re still working. Unless you’re not “doing what you love” to pay the bills, and you’re just living off the proceeds of your inheritance, you still need to make money to maintain your lifestyle. You’re still working.
Living Your Best Life?
Let’s say, for instance, that you love playing music. You adore it. Playing music provides you with great joy and, through some miraculous stroke of luck, you’re able to strike out a career as a professional musician. But here’s the thing; it’s not like you’re going to spend every day just playing your guitar. There are so many other aspects to a career as a musician, from dealing with contract negotiations to songwriting to hiring support staff and all the rest of it.
Maybe you don’t feel like playing today, but you HAVE TO because you agreed to a paid gig. Maybe you don’t want to do the autograph signing today, but you HAVE TO because it’s part of your contract.
But you love music. You love playing music. So, you keep at it. And that’s if you happen to be so lucky as to be able to eke out a comfortable living as a musician, which is most assuredly a privilege that innumerable aspiring artists never attain. They’re doing what they love, but the money isn’t following. The same extends to practically any endeavor, including blogging, YouTubing and Internet marketing.
Hitting a Speed Bump
Perhaps the biggest problem with using the “love what you do” mantra as your guiding principle is that you are much more inclined to abandon the endeavor when you no longer feel like you “love” what you do. It’s not living up to its admittedly impossible promise. You can’t love everything, every day, about what it is that you do. That’s just life. And if you want the money to follow, you need to work for it.
This isn’t to say that you should necessarily trade hours for dollars or “work for money.” Absolutely, you should work on creating systems that make money for you, but creating and maintaining those systems is still work. And you may or may not love that work, even if you were initially driven by a passion for some aspect of that work.
A Better Mantra
Loving what you do is insufficient.
What you want instead is to love your vision. Love the idea of where you want to end up.
If you aspire to play your music in front of a sold out crowd at Wembley Stadium in London, England, that’s your dream. That’s your vision. And that grand vision can serve as your motivation when you’re still sludging along trying to get gigs at your local music venue.
You won’t love the minutiae of the everyday, but you can love where you want to go. That’s where you can derive your energy, your motivation, your perseverance to get through those rough patches, those tough times, those less than “I love my life” moments. Because, above all else, the one thing that separates the eventual winners from everyone else is their tenacity, their willingness to stick with it when everyone else is giving up.
What’s your grand vision? How are you going to get there?