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10 Things To Remember If You Want To Do What You Love For A Living

10 Things To Remember If You Want To Do What You Love For A Living

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Dean Bokhari

Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

How to Use the Law of Attraction to Make Your Dreams Happen How to Actually Make Your Goals Happen 9 Things Successful People Do To Always Get What They Want How to Develop a Can Do Attitude and Succeed in Life 50 Self-Affirmations to Help You Stay Motivated Every Day

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

This is why setting priorities is so important.

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3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

1. Eat a Frog

There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

2. Move Big Rocks

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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3. Covey Quadrants

If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important and Not Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

    The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

    Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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    You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

    Getting to Know You

    Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

    In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

    These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

    More Tips for Effective Prioritization

    Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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