Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Do What You Love

Do what you love…
Work flexible hours…
Learn how to get rich in marketing at a free seminar…
Earn $2000 - $5000 a month while working from home…
Fabulous business opportunity to be your own boss…

If that got your attention, you may be like a growing number of Americans who are feeling overwhelmed, unappreciated and underpaid. We want to find success and get out of debt by winning the lottery, being discovered on American Idol or Oprah, or finding a business opportunity that requires little or no capital  or experience.

After a quick look at the job descriptions on popular career sites like “America’s Job Bank” It is easy to understand why so many people are looking in the wrong places for ways to do what they love. Employers demands are often so high that job seekers feel helpless. Examples from job descriptions such as these sound familiar to any active job seeker.

• Be flexible (ready to do anything your employer wants done)
• Pay varies with experience (we usually start at the lower end of the pay scale)
• Be willing to travel (you will be working anywhere except at home)
• Work some evenings and weekends (You are on call 24/7)
• Requires a bachelors degree and 5 years experience
• Be detail oriented and able to multi-task

The reality of the workplace is hitting hard especially for younger people, older people, and workers wanting to improve their education and skills. The backlash to the “Do What You Love” advocates seems to be gaining popularity with websites such as Despair.com whose founder uses sarcasm and realism to describe what he calls a corporate culture that requires soul-crushing robotic compliance with no room for self-fulfillment. Robert Eichinger, former executive at PepsiCo and Pillsbury, goes so far as to say that the demands of the workplace necessitate putting values and dreams aside and allowing yourself to be unhappy if necessary to gain the skills you need. Can we be prepared as entrepreneurs to take charge of our lives and careers without falling for marketing fraud, or giving up our health and values?

In a climate of global competition and a tenuous economy, is it possible to do what you love? One of my favorite books is called, Follow Your True Colors To The Work You Love. This True Colors assessment is based on the temperament theory of Carl Jung, the research of Myers-Briggs, and the work of David Keirsey. Is it really possible for most people to make a living working at something they love (using their strengths) in an environment that honors their values? Author Marsha Sinetar, in her book “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood”, bases her philosophy on the Buddhist teaching of “Right Livelihood”. But how many Buddhist Monks earn the kind of money that comes to our minds when we hear that the money will follow? Buddhist teaching stresses moral living and enlightenment, which may or may not involve making the kind of money most Americans expect.

I recently saw a wonderful example of a person doing what they love in the movie “Parrots of Telegraph Hill”. It is the story of a man who left his job to find his calling. He was homeless for many years, but he was happy doing what he loved and finding his higher calling, while earning little or no money. The story has a happy ending because it is the story of someone who was willing to do what he loved without worrying about whether the money would follow. Through his love of parrots, he eventually became famous and had a movie made about him. I really enjoyed seeing the movie, but I don’t believe I could follow such a difficult path to finding my dreams. I need to be optimistic, but also realistic. In his book, "Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman says to expect the best, but plan for the worst. Be prepared for the dips as you plan for your dreams.

If you feel the need for comforts of life, relationships, and health, you can balance your dreams and reality without sacrificing your values. You will need a LifeWork Plan to build the skills you need to do what you love, have a budget to live on while you are getting your education and skills, practice stress reducing exercises, and allow time to maintain important relationships in your life. Most of us are not like the homeless man who could live happily for years without a plan until he found his calling. I often hear people say that they are waiting for their boss to come to them with a promotion, or waiting for the “right” job to come along. It takes action, it takes a plan, and it takes supportive relationships. I believe that we can use our strengths to do what we love while honoring our values, but for most people, it doesn’t just happen. In their book, Luck Is No Accident, authors Krumboltz and Levin advocate a flexible game plan to cope with our uncertain times.

If you want to design your life with a flexible action plan that will give you the tools to use your strengths and improve your skills, you can email: success@lifeworkplan.com for more information or to set up an appointment for a free consultation by phone to discuss your LifeWork Plan. There is room in your life to do what you love.

This website is intended for informational purposes only. For career advise, coaching, or counseling, please seek out a professional who can meet your personal needs. See links on the side panel for referrals from professional organizations.

Copyright LWD © 2005 Nancy Miller