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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

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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