This blog post is dedicated to one of my best friends who passed away two weeks ago at the very young age of 28. He always lived life to the fullest and never lived somebody else’s life. He was an inspiration for me and a friend, many people can only wish for. Thank you for everything, you truly enriched my life.
What Would You Do All Day?
Last week I posted the following question on LinkedIn: “If you had money coming in every month, covering everything you spend with no work required, what would you do all day?”
Some answers stated “Work on what I really enjoy”, “Expressing myself much more in my job”, “Humanitarian work” and “Spend more time with my children”.
Only one or two people said they would continue to do what they did with only minor changes.
What is Your Excuse?
Why are most people not living the life they are meant to live? Why are most people working in a job that drains their energy or is merely OK while only a few are doing what they truly love?
These are questions that I ask myself many times every week whenever I talk or email with people.
Looking for your passion and doing work you love requires a lot of courage, bravery, time, effort, creativity and much more. These are all things that many people shy away from because it’s more comfortable to work in an OK job and find excuses for not doing what you love.
Some of the excuses include “I can’t earn a lot of money with what I would love to do”, “I don’t know what I am passionate about”, “I already really like what I’m doing because it’s a secure job and I earn good money” and “I will look for something I love doing when I have more experience or time”.
I can accept if you don’t want to find what you love to do, it’s your decision.
However, I can’t accept that you can’t look for it. You have every tool imaginable available at your fingertips, mostly for free, served to you on a silver platter called the internet.
The Frustrated School Teacher
A while ago, I spoke with an old friend. She is a school teacher and in her 50s. We talked about her job at the school because she told me she was so happy to finally have long summer holidays.
I asked her how she liked her job and she told me that she is mainly looking forward to the weekends and holidays. She loves to work with children but she does not like the system she is in.
I offered her some advice to change her day to day work organization to make it more pleasant. I also told her that she has enormous opportunities anywhere she looks as teaching is a transferable skill and she should look for something that fascinates her. I even told her she could take on the challenge to talk to the dean of the school about changes that could improve the schools performance and at the same time make her job more enjoyable.
Her answer hurt me deeply in my heart. She told me that she does not want to make a change and that she just wants to work the remaining time until she receives her pension so she can enjoy life then.
I asked how long that will take and she told me 5-7 years from now.
Whenever I hear such a story it hurts me deeply. How can you waste such a long time of your life doing something that you dislike and living somebody else’s life?
3 Life Lessons From Steve Jobs
My favorite speech from Steve Jobs is the one he gave to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. He tells three stories from his life that shaped him and made him who he was. You can watch it below.
(If you read this in an email, you can watch the video here)
You need to find what you love doing no matter how long it takes. And when I say “what you love”, I don’t mean “like what you are doing” or “love the money you are earning”.
I mean you need to find the thing that gets you up early morning before your alarm clock because you are so excited to start the day. I mean the thing that makes you come home to your family with a big bold smile and total fulfillment so you can enjoy every minute with them instead of moaning about problems at work or lack of energy. I mean the thing that gets you to do something that matters instead of shuffling paper around all day.
Last week, one of my coaching clients wrote a wonderful email to a CEO & Founder of a fast growing startup company in Switzerland saying “I’m very impressed. You stand out as a startup founder who not only realizes what the biggest challenges of our times are but is actually doing something about it.”
You need to do something that matters because shuffling paper is not fulfilling.
Opening a Bar and Playing Poker
At the beginning of this blog post, I mentioned my very good friend who passed away two weeks ago.
One thing that always fascinated me about him was that he had his own will, no matter what. He truly lived life to the fullest and had the bravery and courage to craft his own path and find the things that he was passionate about.
After finishing his apprenticeship in his early 20s, he was fed up with doing office work and decided to open his own bar with his girlfriend because he wanted to find out if this is something that excites him.
Plenty of people told him that it was a bad idea to leave a well paid job to start something he had never done before. People told him it will never work and that he would be better off going back to school or looking for a job that paid well and was secure.
He did not care what other people said and opened the bar with his girlfriend and we had countless amazing nights out at the bar.
If he did something that he did not enjoy, he simply stopped doing it and did something that he enjoyed more.
At one point, he was working in a highly paid job that was merely OK and quit because he rather traveled around Europe to play poker because this was one of his biggest passions.
He certainly did not waste his life with something he disliked doing. He always found a way to make things happen, no matter what.
Are you wasting your precious time of your life with something you dislike doing or with a job that is merely OK?
Re-Think Your Career
If you are looking for a new job right now, I urge you to first think hard about if what you are doing is truly what you love. If this is not the case, it’s time for a change.
As Steve Jobs said in his speech to the graduates at Stanford in 2005, “I asked myself every morning for the past 33 years if today was my last day, would I want to do what I am about to do today”.
If your answer to this question has recently been “No” for too many times in a row, I suggest you re-think your career while you are in transition.
Choose your career path wisely, you can’t re-live yesterday. Don’t waste your life by living somebody else’s life.
Time to Take Action
If you haven’t found what you truly love doing every day, keep looking.
Stay hungry, stay foolish. Try new things, develop a plan B and don’t ever let anyone tell you something is impossible. Impossible is something that is simply not done yet.
[pwal id=”43996750″ description=”Inspire others to find and do work they love and share this blog post with your network.”][/pwal]