According to the latest Gallup polls, only 32% of Americans actually love what they do for a living. That leaves a whopping 68% of people feeling unfulfilled with the work they do on a daily basis. In my mind, this is unacceptable. And if you’re reading this article, then it’s likely you think so, too. So, if you want to do what you love for a living—or want to help someone who doesn’t—then scroll down for my 10 must-read tips to help you on your path to success and long-term fulfillment both personally and professionally.
1. Map out your GPS (Greatness + Passions + Service).
When I first started trying to figure out how to find and do what I love for a living, I was confused just like everyone else. With so many ideas, it can be hard to pick just one thing. That’s why I developed an exercise called The GPS Formula: the ‘G’ represents what you’re Great at. The ‘P’ represents what you’re Passionate about. And the ’S’ represents how you can provide a Service by combining both G+P.
The overlapping of the three (GPS) is your sweet spot for making a living doing what you love. Let’s dive into the details of each individual portion of The GPS Formula so that you can discover a combination that’s the right fit for you.
2. What are you Great at?
What are you great it? Seems like a pretty simple question, right? The unfortunate truth of the matter is, that most people have absolutely no idea how to answer it. Even worse; corporate cultures are predicated on trying to improve on weaknesses rather than cultivate strengths. And this puts a lot of us in an emotionally unstable position; making us feel as if we’re not great enough or good enough.
So how do you figure it out for yourself? Make a list. Write down every single thing you’re skilled at. When you’re done with your list, you’ll feel good about the fact that you’ve actually got something positive to look at on paper. Next, organize that list based on what you believe you’re best at from the list of skills and qualities you’ve written down about yourself. Take your time with this.
3. Passion: Don’t try to find it. Try to bring it.
People get way too caught up in trying to “find their passion”. Let me be crystal clear here – we do not find passion. Passion is a result. We bring it about by taking action.
We need to inject passion into the things we do. The best way to do that, is to try doing more of the things that you actually love to do. And while you’re doing those things, you might find it beneficial to take note of whether you love that thing enough to try and make a living out of it.
4. Determine your highest point of Service.
Your highest point of service (or contribution) is where your greatest gifts (G) intersect with your passions (P) in a way that allows you to serve (S) other people. Similar to what I outlined for you above (see #3); this is where you focus on the “S” part of The GPS Formula — the part that requires you to produce value for other people (your employer, or your customers) so that you can actually make a living doing what you love.
The best way to figure out your highest point of service is to first make a list of the things you’re great at (G), and second, to cross reference it with what you’re passionate about (P). The third and final step, is to figure out the best combination of G + P which will allow you to provide a service (S) so that you can make some moolah!
5. Always be reading.
People who do what they love for a living have a voracious appetite for learning as much as they can about the work they love to do. They’re constantly looking for ways to expand their knowledge by reading the best books about their industry.
You should do the same. Once you’ve figured out what you love and want to do for a living, go find 5 of the best books about that industry and read them cover to cover. Or if you’re on a time-crunch, at least read the book summaries. And if you absolutely can’t focus your eyes to text, try listening to the books in audio format.
6. Take action.
When I decided to start my own self-improvement podcast, I knew I needed to acquire some tech-related knowledge to get the ball rolling, so I took a course on how to start a podcast. The course taught me a lot of material, but I didn’t wait until I was done with all 12 weeks of it to start taking action. No, no. Every single lesson was followed up with immediate action. Taking immediate action allowed me the opportunity to apply what I’d learned, and more importantly, to see if it actually worked. If I’d waited until the course was all over, I’d be overwhelmed and confused as to where to begin.
If you want to do what you love for a living, you need to always be taking deliberate action immediately after you learn something so that you can decipher the difference between what works and what doesn’t.
7. Find a mentor.
It doesn’t matter if you’re learning from someone in real life, or if you’re learning from them through their books and videos – find the best of the best in your industry and use them as guides and role models to help you become more successful and avoid painful pitfalls so that you can successfully arrive to that sweet spot where you’ll be making a living doing what you love.
Wondering where — or how — to go about finding a mentor? Start by making a list of potential mentors. Next, learn more about them. Read their work. Follow them on twitter. Listen to their interviews. And if you’ve got the courage to do so, go ahead and reach out to them. They (probably) won’t bite.
8. Get out of your comfort zone.
Several years ago, I used to be in terrible physical condition — fat, unhealthy, and totally out of shape. I knew that if I wanted to make a change, I’d have to get myself out of my comfort zone and dedicate myself to eating healthy and working out 5+ times per week. But I had my fair share of challenges. For example: It was scary to go to the gym because it felt like everyone was watching me and thinking “what’s this worthless slob doing here…” But even though it was uncomfortable to go to the gym, I forced myself to do it anyway. Why? Because the temporary pain of feeling like people were watching and making fun of me, wasn’t as heavy as the long-term pain I knew I’d feel if I didn’t get a handle on my health.
Eventually, I got myself into the best shape of my life and developed a passion for health and fitness; in fact, I even ended up working as a male fashion model as a result. On top of that, my confidence improved and my energy shot through the roof! But I’m not telling you this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you, that it’s crucial to get out of your comfort zone if you want to find and do what you love for a living, because the benefits of doing so will pour into every area of your life.
9. Don’t burn yourself out.
A little grit never hurt anyone, but far too many folks hold the irrational belief that they must succumb themselves to back-breaking work in order to earn their keep. This is non-sense. Doing work you love isn’t supposed to be totally easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be excruciatingly hard either. People who do what they love for a living know that the secret to success is to cultivate a symbiotic relationship between labor and love. So remember: if you’re burning yourself out, then you’re doing it wrong.
10. Make friends with failure.
In order to successfully do what you love for a living, there’s one thing you need to get comfortable with whether you’re ready for it or not — failure. Throughout my own personal journey to doing meaningful work, I failed so many darn times I decided to create a public list of all my failures. This way, I can have something to look back on and learn from, and more importantly, something you and countless others can learn from as you embark on your own journey to doing work that matters.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that failure is inevitable on your path to success. But the beautiful thing about failure is that the more it happens, the closer you get to that sweet spot. That place you’ve defined as your own unique intersection of where your greatest gifts collide with your skills — coming together in a way that allows you to finally fulfill the dream that all of us are really after in life and business: to combine what we love to do with what we do for work.
If I can do it, so can you.