As children, we dream of being legendary when we grow up.
Things like accounts receiveable clerk, insurance claims agent and receptionist don’t appear. None of those jobs are a bad thing – I’m just pointing out how perceptions and realities change once “real life” sets in – the bills, the routines, the obligations. You might even enjoy a job like this – if so, great for you! I’m not knockin’ it.
On the other side, there’s the unhappy people just trying to make it through another day. Instead of leaving a legacy, we settle for something that barely resembles our past dreams in order to make money.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat: money is good, money is awesome, I can never have enough, personally.
As the years pass, we feel comfortable working to live.Then, to make up for that job we don’t really like, we spend more and more money. We go on vacations once or twice a year to escape real life. (Not knockin’ vacations either, but I’ve had jobs where I spent months hanging onto the thought of that one-week getaway.)
Call me crazy, but I think it’s a damn shame so many of us want to escape real life. I’d rather start living a life I like all the time. Starting with replacing the work I’m obligated to do with something I truly enjoy. When work is fun, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s up to us to either pursue the wrong career or one we’ll really love. (Pursue is an important word here … The job of your dreams won’t land at your doorstep. Sorry, but no one else cares that much about your personal dreams.)
So let me ask you: What do you want to be when you grow up … now?
It’s ok if you don’t know the answer. This post is going to help with that.
Could be the things you like to do aren’t very “workable.” No one will pay you to sit in an armchair and eat potato chips. Camping at Yellowstone National Park isn’t a job. And those Wine and Whine nights with your girlfriends aren’t going to make a mint anytime soon.
The trick to finding your Amazing Work is wondering: How can I make money doing what I love?
(And actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing someone cash in on the recliner-chips routine. I’ll bet it’s possible.)
Ready to start writing your own life?
Settle in and ask yourself: What do I love now?
To find the answer, start making a list:
Write down whatever comes to your head for at least a full minute after each question.
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What makes you happy?
- What do you Google? What magazines and books do you read?
- When do you feel the best at work? What specific tasks are you doing?
- What are your hobbies and passion projects?
- What are you good at?
Now, search for clues. When I was 9 years old, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Today, I am a writer, but it’s in a much simpler way than I first dreamed. I’m not writing adjective-infused romance novels. I’m a blogger and columnist. Your amazing work might be hidden between the lines like that, too. If you wrote down, “spending time with family” maybe the work you love will be a group collaboration. Get on the phone with your sister and have a chat. Who knows where the conversation will lead.
Dig deep – go beyond what you know. Ignore your degree. Ignore what you’re doing at your current job. If you spent thousands on an education you aren’t enjoying, I’m sorry. This post isn’t going to make a square peg fit in a round hole. If you’re a nurse that wishes she was a librarian, you might have some hard decisions to make. Listen to your gut. First, get the hidden dreams out in the open.
Seek opportunities. Wherever you call home on this lovely little planet, there are opportunities to help you out. If you want to start a small business, check out the non-profit financial group, SCORE. Call your local chamber of commerce to learn about small-business grants or workshops available. If you’re recently unemployed, learn about Federal programs and funding to go back to school. Talk to your boss about a new revenue stream you want to head up.
Stop saying “I can’t” and replace it with “What if?”: What if you could make a living as a personal shopper? What if you could stay home with your kids AND pay the bills by starting an in-home daycare. What if you downsized so your family could live on only one salary?
Really: What if work felt more like living and less like making a living?
If my writing helps or inspires you, please share it with other people. This is the number one way you can support my writing.
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Photo by Ana Santos