We have a strange cultural belief we in the United States. It's the belief that the pinnacle of personal and business success = earning money by doing what we love.
A few weeks ago, I attended an online webinar about going into business for yourself. The tips were helpful. The speaker was articulate and knowledgable. And I lost count of the number of times she said “make more money” and “do what you love” in the same sentence, as if this were the only reason people start businesses or, worst yet, our only measure of success.
I get it. She has to earn a living, too, and I bet she earns a good one because that line sells. Oh, how it sells. And if you’ve found a way to turn what you love into a living and still manage to love doing it (because money does change things, after all), that’s wonderful! By society’s definition, you’re a smashing success. And hopefully by your own definition, too.
But if this is our only definition of success, then how heartbreaking for the rest of us! How heartbreaking for those of us who haven’t managed to quit our day jobs and make money following our passion, or for those of us who have and then discover that money has ruined whatever we were formerly passionate about! If success is divided into two camps — those who make a living doing what they love and those who don’t — it would seem that we are abject failures, miserable cubicle dwellers who, lacking the guts and grit and drive to do something else, are doomed to a life of corporate mediocrity.
Bullshit. The real tragedy isn’t that most of us need day jobs to pay our bills (that's simply a consequence of living in a system that values and pays for some skills more than others). It’s this:
By focusing so much on the money side of the “success = doing what you love for money” equation, we lose something incredibly precious. We lose sight of the possibility that we can do what we love for its own sake.
Which brings me back to the title of this article: If you love something, do it. Do it in your spare time and on weekends and whenever you want to because when we do things for their own sakes, they energize and inspire and enrich every other aspect of our lives.
Don’t worry so much about making money from this specific thing. Maybe you will, and maybe you won’t. Far more importantly, you’ll be doing what you love, and your life, career, and relationships will all be better for it.