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Why You Should Be Making A Life Instead of Making A Living

Why You Should Be Making A Life Instead of Making A Living

“If you think your life is about DOINGNESS, you do not understand what you are about. Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you’re BEING while you’re doing whatever you’re doing. It is a state of BEINGNESS the soul is after, not a state of doingness.”
– Neale Donald Walsch

I have never been great at making a living and for a longtime I struggled trying to figure out why I wasn’t that great at it. I would compare myself to my friends and peers who through the years have consistently turned up to work, had great careers and made a really good living . It is only recently that I have discovered that I was truly happy when I was  living my  life doing what I wanted to do – writing, speaking and coaching. . For years I was choosing to make a living doing what I “could do” but not what I ‘wanted to do”. Now in hindsight, if I knew 25 years ago what I know now, I could have had both a lot sooner – living a life and making  living doing what I loved.

The Purpose of Work

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.”
– John Ruskin

Work is essential as it brings us a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction to our lives. Work puts our creative energies to use, it stimulates us and can bring us huge successes BUT when it takes over our lives to a point where we no longer find the satisfaction in what we do or we become slaves to our jobs – then that is when WORK infiltrates our lives in a negative way. We find ourselves in a place where we are “existing rather than living’ and we are choosing to live a life of mediocrity rather than a life filled with happiness, joy and success.

Work is not our enemy, it only becomes the enemy when we allow work to take over our lives and our sense of self. When we asked are the question “who are you?” and we reply ” I am an accountant, lawyer, policeman, CEO…”, it is a sign that our self worth and our identity is based on the economic value of the job we do!

So why is it important that you should be making a life instead of making a living?

“When you’re following your energy and doing what you want all the time, the distinction between work and play dissolves.”
– Shakti Gawain

Today modern society’s definition of success is based on the concepts of money, fame and power.  I think many of us become trapped in the mindset of focusing on making a living for survival and working really hard to  make lots of  money so that we are seen to be successful. The words happiness, fulfilment, passion and joy do not appear to be associated with the concept of making a living – this is why it is important that you should be focusing on making a life where your definition of success is built on the foundation of words such as happiness, joy, love, passion and fulfilment. If you are doing what you want to do, then work is a JOY and if you are doing what you dont want to do than work is a CHORE.

There is Hope if you use the Power of Choice

“The person who does not know how to live while they are making a living is a poorer person after their wealth is won when they started.”
– Josiah Gilbert Holland

Do not give up hope as there are things you can do that will enable you to live your life earning a living doing what you love to do. You have the power of choice. and all you have to do is to make the choice that you want to change from living a life where you are just existing making a living to living a life where you are happy, fulfilled and doing what you love.

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” Making money isn’t hard in itself…What is hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”
– Carols Ruitz Zafon

A word of caution, to take on this challenge to find what makes you happy and how you can make a life doing what you love, is HARD WORK.  It is hard to step out and be courageous. It is hard not to worry about what others think. It is hard to follow your dreams, to define your life purpose and to figure out what makes you happy. Making a living is much easier  to do. It is so much easier to exist rather than live a full life,  to procrastinate, to make excuses, and to accept that your life is what it is.

So if you do chose to Make a Life you love, here are 10 important steps to help you get started.

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  1. Accept that this journey is going to be hard and that there is no better time than right now to take action and COMMIT
  2. Once you have done this, start to explore ways to define your Life Purpose – what are you passionate  about and what makes you happy?  When you have clarity about your purpose and your passions, then put a PLAN in place outlining the steps you need to take to get you to where you want to be in your life. Defining your life purpose in some ways is easy – defining the pathway to fulfilling your life purpose is the hard part and will require courage, focus and commitment. Remember that the reward for you, will be a life filled with happiness and success.
  3. Figure out how you will deal with your fears, your insecurities, your excuses or any blocks that you will use to stop you or distract you from going on this journey. Get to know them and be ready when they take action because if you are not focused, do not have self belief or  you are not really committed to the journey then you will give up.
  4. Do not worry about others and what they are doing or achieving. Stop comparing yourself to others and start working on you and your belief in YOU.
  5. Be prepared to work hard and focus on delivering results. Set achievable goals, sort out your finances, get support and just start doing what you need to do – happiness will follow.
  6. Become Resilient – you need to learn how to bounce back and step up. Life will throw you some curve balls, you will make mistakes and you will feel at times very sorry for yourself. You need to overcome the low points toughen up and bounce back. It is just the way it is.
  7. Find your Courage – you will need it when you step out of your comfort zone
  8. Practice Gratitude daily, be generous and help others – this is one of the easiest things to do on this journey so do lots if it. The more grateful you are, the more generous you are and the more you help people, the happpier you will be.
  9. Enjoy the journey –  live in the moment, make time to have fun and celebrate often. You will find that the more you do this the happier you will be and the closer you will be to making a living doing what you love
  10. Be Realistic about your ideal life – you may not have it all but you can have enough to be very happy. Focus on the top 3-4 priorities in your life that will bring your happiness and joy.

Despite the hard work required to find happiness and success in your life, it is so worth it. The 10 action steps if you choose to follow them will create the opportunity for you to make a great life.

Life is too short to spend time making a living where you just exist. Life is more than just living  with mediocrity. You deserve more and you are entitled to live a life of joy and happiness. It is not too late to live your ideal life. I know that you need to factor in the economics of earning money – it is important to have in our lives. However, you can make a living while making a life, people all over the world are doing it – So why cant you be one of these people?

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are hear in order to enable the world to live more amply,with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.”
 Woodrow Wilson

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

17 Versatile Work Skills That Will Gain You More Career Opportunities

17 Versatile Work Skills That Will Gain You More Career Opportunities

When we look at a job advertisement, it can seem as though employers want an exhaustive list of experience and technical skills from their new hire.

They list desirable qualities such as ‘initiative’, ‘team player’ and ‘strong work ethic’. Those words can mean a variety of things to different people and it can be quite hard for employers to illustrate fully the combination of technical and soft skills they want their potential employees to have.

What they often want is a mix of versatile skills that make it easy for them (and you) to adapt to the changing needs and demands which occur in businesses today.

After all, adaptability and innovation are what make businesses thrive.

In today’s ever-changing environment, versatility is a mandatory attitude every working person needs to have. With the following seventeen work skills, you will not only make your employer extremely happy and confident that hiring you was their best decision, you will experience greater personal satisfaction and results.

1. Know What You Want but More so Why You Want It

Employers need to sense you have a solid idea as to why you are a fit for their role and their organization. They need to sense you have your own sense of purpose.

However, it can be a double-edged sword to say you know exactly what you want to achieve and gain if you are successful in your application and interview.

Some employers can perceive this as arrogance; your needs first, theirs second. What employers are really looking for is your internal sense of knowing that potential to join their organization is a winning combination for both of you.

2. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Skills Save Money, Lost Productivity and Efficiency

Can you agree to disagree? Can you evaluate without passing judgment or at least be self-aware of your own biases? Can you put these aside to find solutions for the betterment of the team?

Employers look for versatility in soft work skills that bring peace, lower stress and contribute to creating harmony. If you have ways with words to help heated arguments reduce to a simmer so there is space for compromises, negotiations and reasoning to take place your employers’ respect for you will jump at least tenfold.

Peace-making skills are invaluable in changing workplace culture, particularly toxic ones. Any good employer knows a strong in-house negotiator will save them thousands of dollars in engaging an external mediator.

3. Know How to Set and Reframe Your Own Goals

Much research has documented that when employees have a clear purpose, mission and goals, they are more likely to be highly productive. They are less likely to flounder around in many directions nor be busy and not produce results that matter.

Employers know well that employees who develop their own goals and can align these with those of the company are more self-driven, self-sufficient and take greater ownership for performing their role.

And the benefit is not only to the employers. You personally will find greater personal satisfaction from achieving targets you have chosen to set yourself. Everyone wins!

4. Great Time Management and Organization Skills Make You Highly Productive

Being able to exercise versatility with these work skills needs no explanation. Great time management does not mean multi-tasking. It actually uses more brain power and reduces effectiveness.

Having great skills to prioritize your activities and demands, being able to assess how long things might take you to address are planning skills which greatly aid effective and better execution.

Working in harmony with your colleagues’ timetables makes for better teamwork and workflow plus a less stressed environment.

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In today’s working world, any strategies for reducing stress-invoking opportunities are like finding golden nuggets. Your employer will want to hold on to those for dear life!

5. Be a Flexible Team Player by Being Able to Change Roles When Required

Employers will be looking to see how flexible a team player, a potential employee could be.

If you are a natural leader, being a better team player might, in fact, mean you stepping down from the helm and encouraging someone else to exercise and step into their leadership potential.

It might be more beneficial to your employer to play the role of Indian as opposed to the Chief in certain situations. Stepping into different positions on your team not only helps you grow but also the rest of your team.

Employers relish having a versatile work team which can adapt and is ready and willing to play different roles, even if uncomfortable when crises happen.

6. Initiative, Self-Motivated and Driven

When you have your own internal reasons for looking to undertake a role your motivation is driven by something sizzling inside of you.

There is a personal drive and desire for the satisfaction you will experience when you meet a certain target that no other person will be able to give to you.

When you can genuinely identify and demonstrate your own personal connection to the role’s objectives and the greater goals of your employer’s business, they will see you have an internal drive that they don’t need to whip and flog to keep the momentum going.

Any employer will be grateful they just need to help navigate you and support you with the right tools and network and off you go.

7. Be Confident but Not Arrogant

Imagine if you were conducting initial telephone interviews with shortlisted candidates and one of the questions they asked was:

“How long would it be until I’ll be eligible for a pay rise or promotion?”

There is a significant difference between being confident and arrogant. Employers are not looking for confidence purely in you being able to perform every aspect of your role at gold star level.

It comes with being comfortable to say you don’t understand, you have made a mistake, you need support, further training, acknowledging what your limits are and being willing to risk stepping outside your comfort zone.

When you’re a new kid on the block, respecting that you may need to learn to walk before you can run is essential. Unless it is your job to start making significant changes from day one, chances are you’re going to create enemies if you’re so confident your new methods and ideas should replace existing processes.

8. A Positive Attitude

Demonstrating positivity as a work skill that will truly win over your new employer is about being genuine and actively applying strategies which look for the glass half full.

Recruiters and employers are not dumb. They can easily see through short-term bright smiles, nervous giggling and general ‘you just need to think positive’ statements.

In the face of grueling challenges, employers are going to look much more favorably on that candidate who can acknowledge the negative features of a situation but still encourage another solution-focused perspective to be adopted.

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Even better, if you can use language effectively to demonstrate how you have adopted a positive perspective and helped turned around a tough situation.

It is one thing to have a positive attitude but your potential employer will see you as a superhero if you can show them how you have successfully applied it.

Take a look at these tips to learn more about staying positive:

10 Tips To Make Positive Thinking Easy

9. You Are Resourceful but Know the Value of Asking for Help

There is nothing more unproductive (let alone frustrating) than that person who simply asks out loud a question to their team when they could simply have Googled the answer.

Or worse still, they have a manual at their fingertips which has the answer to their question…they were simply too lazy to look for themselves.

Be that person with Sherlock Holmes as their middle name who sleuths like a dog after a buried bone. You can research and turn over stones to discover and learn what you need but you also are able to ask for help and assistance when you need to.

Any employer will relish that person who looks to discover the answers to their own questions first before reaching out and asking for help.

Hesitate to ask for help? This article may just change your mind:

Afraid to Ask for Help? Change Your Outlook to Aim High!

10. Emotional Intelligence Creates a Harmonious Workflow

Despite the level of seniority of your role having a strong ability to handle emotions is fast becoming an essential work skill (and also life skill).

It is even more desirable for any employer when your work skill set includes the ability to detect, adapt to and have skills in managing certain emotional patterns of others you need to work with, manage or report to.

So much time, energy and productivity is lost due to individuals’ lack of skills in this area. Any manager who can see you possess and can demonstrate such versatile work skills will think they’ve won the managerial lottery!

You can learn how to improve your Emotional Intelligence from this article:

7 Practical Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

11. Be Able to Adapt Your Learning Style

There is no real evidence that using preferred learning styles actually increase the rate at which we learn nor the effectiveness of certain styles.

However, being able to make changes to what we are given to learn and adapting it to suit our needs and preferences does help us settle into a new work transition sooner.

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We also need to recognize that even though we feel uncomfortable learning a new skill a certain way, it might actually be the way we need to receive it to cement the learning. It is also likely that our new employer only knows or has a budget to deliver training in a certain way.

Either we can choose to adapt or resist but we know for sure the latter is not going to benefit to anyone.

Want to find out what your learning style is? Take this quiz:

How This Learning Style Quiz Can Help You Make the Most of Your Life

12. Flexible Leadership Style

Dan Goleman has conducted extensive research on different leadership styles, emphasizing that being versatile to switch between different styles (e.g. authoritative, coaching, affiliate, coercive, pace-setting) and knowing when to do is a fundamental skill for any leader.

Being able to change your style to lead other people is as important as how you lead your own role responsibilities.

If you want to be a better leader, these books are great resources:

15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read To Achieve Success

13. Incredible Communication Skills That Actively Listen and Give Clear Messages

Strong and effective communication across all mediums takes time, life experience and highly developed intuition.

Knowing when to use email, a face to face conversation or telephone discussion is one thing. Another is to use words which emotionally connect and influence the receiver to accept, hear and heed your message.

Great communicators know that it is their responsibility as much as the receiver for good communication to take place. However, they also know that the receiver may not feel this is the case.

When you can listen equally, be sensitive to read between the lines to hear the message of ineffective communicators and can respond kindly with inspiring, equalizing and encouraging words, your influence and general likeability as a new addition to your employer’s team will develop in leaps and bounds.

These books are also nice resources to learn effective communication:

13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships

14. Accountable, Responsible and Dependable

We’ve all worked with people or managers at some point who lay external blame the instance something goes wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, making mistakes and owning up to it is a highly desirable and versatile work skill that gains loyalty and understanding particularly when mistakes occur.

Owning up to errors early allows both yourself and the business to recover quickly and shows you’re willing to take responsibility to continue forward on when you have stumbled.

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When you illustrate you can do this, you build your employer’s trust and faith in you.

15. Exercise Proactive Self-Awareness

Self-reflection is a highly empowering work skill that contributes greatly to becoming better and performing better.

When you actively look for the achievement, celebrate your success and look for pockets of where mistakes you have made can be corrected you improve faster, become more effective and make your work easier.

When you start to look at your own errors, receiving feedback from your employer about the same errors can feel far less confronting and having corrective conversations is easier, transparent and far less stressful and emotional.

You naturally increase your resilience and make life easier for yourself and your employer if you conduct regular self-check-ins and keep your employer updated.

Here’s how to practice self-awareness:

How to Increase Your Self Awareness to Be Much More Successful

16. Apply a Problem-Solving Growth Mindset

When faced with a problem or challenge, your ability to activate a growth mindset is a highly versatile work skill employers love. Not only are you able to reduce the pain and anguish that a fixed mindset can sustain but your ability to remain open to possibilities to find different pathways or ideas is refreshing and helpful.

If your thought patterns automatically ask: “How can we?” or you often think “there must be a way”, you will only contribute to creating growth opportunities for your organization and inspire others to think the same way.

Learn more about developing a growth mindset here:

5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement

17. Be Teachable

If you have ever tried to teach someone a new skill or technique and they keep reverting back to traditional ways that are familiar to them, you might have become frustrated to the point of giving up.

Don’t be that person who’s stuck in tradition which no longer serves the business. Whether you are entering a new environment, learning new software or negotiation skills, know that all employers need people who are open to being taught.

Innovation is a core concern of every business. Innovation means change and change means doing something different.

Stay Versatile and Keep Learning

Technical skills can often be taught. Ray Croc illustrated how well a systemized franchise can dominate the planet. Over 36,000 McDonald’s establishments around the world are run by managers barely in their twenties!

Soft work skills, however, take time to develop, learn and confidently apply.

There is a key combination of work skills that would make any candidate employer’s dream. However, the essential factor underlying all of these work skills is versatility.

Equip yourself with these 17 work skills, stay curious and keep learning; and you’ll always nail the job you want.

More Resources About Career Success

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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