Loving Your Work is Overrated

Every once in awhile, a new idea, explodes a concept that I previously thought was rock solid. Regular readers won’t be surprised that I’ve written 11 previous posts tagged with work that you love.

laptoplady11I’ve known that money doesn’t always follow finding work that we love, but now I have greater understanding.

Now I’m seeing that loving your work is, quite possibly, extremely overrated.  My friend, Egbert Sukop, in his new book, How to Better Hate Your Job, blew up my mind with these excerpts.

When I choose more often what I want to do, it is more likely I’ll make more money.  What you want to do is NOT identical with doing what you love.  Love in regards to business and work is so overrated.

Self-determination is key.  And so is a series of continued choices and course adjustments versus vegetating along the rusty tracks of a decision you made years ago.  Making a lot of choices is likely to lead you to making better choices, with some of them possibly leading to more money.  Egbert Sukop

Perhaps I was already aware of this distinction when I wrote this in a popular post on seizing the freedom of self-employment. “By working on what you want to work on and dearly value you’ll end up producing work of higher value that will make you prosperous.”

This concept is still formulating for me, so I could use your help in thinking it through.  Here’s why I think Egbert is onto something big.

Doing work we want to do, is so much simpler than searching for work that we love to do.  Simply doing work that we choose, because we want to, takes the pressure off.

Doing work that we want to do, permits the ongoing possibility of mistake making.  Making mistakes is no big deal because we can just change our minds when we are doing what we want to do.

I coach many clients on right career and right business discovery and the pressure they put on themselves has much to do with how they think true calling ought to feel.  If the horns of angels and blinding white light don’t announce their epiphanies, they often question their discoveries.

Identifying work that we love to do, is a much higher standard that comes with huge expectations.  High expectations often lead to second-guessing and disappointment.

Consider how challenging it is to continue loving our loved ones.  Many people believe they aren’t at choice when it comes to loving their relatives. That lie gives us a clue as to why loving our work is such an unnecessarily high standard.

Doing work we want to do feels more carefree and unencumbered.  Doing feels more attainable than loving because of the lightness of choice built right into it.

It’s that choice to change our mind and frequently do whatever the hell we want to do, that leads to the only real freedom there is.  The freedom to say no thank you and choose anew.

Resources:

Juliet du Preez at Life Made Great, interviewed  me and published it today.  Juliet asked some piercing questions check it out.

Juliet was bold enough to try something new and participate in one of my exploratory group coaching experiences.  If you’d like to exercise your boldness join us: Creating the Life & Business You Most Want; A Bold Process for Authoring Your Own Life Now!

Comments

  1. James | Dancing Geek says:

    The idea of needing the “the horns of angels and blinding white light” is something that I just understood and wrote about myself in terms of personal development, and the application of it to career seems clear from what you’ve written.

    My thinking was that you go from not thinking, through discomfort, to trying to find another way, to needing motivation to get through the change (which is where the idea of angelic revelation kicks in) to accepting that it is something as simple as mindfulness that is key, it’ll never be over and you’re fine as you are.

    Mindfulness in work would seem to be choosing, making your own decisions. These decisions will never be over, but you’ll get better at making them through practice.

    There’s some definite parallels here for me.

    James | Dancing Geeks last blog post..The journey to nowhere

  2. Stephen - Rat Race Trap says:

    Tom, this is quite interesting. A distinction that might have been simmering around in the back of my mind for a while. I think I have been doing what I want most of my life, but never what I love. On the other hand I think you can change what you do and you can change what you love. What you love might easily change. As you grow as a person you are going to change and thus what you “love” might very well change. I suspect that is the case with most people. I rambled and have come to no conclusion but now I am thinking about the topic more consciously. Thanks for giving me this thought.

    Stephen – Rat Race Traps last blog post..Develop the Courage to Take Risks

    • Stephen – Welcome. I had to read your comment a couple of times but I think I get it now. That’s the big advantage to doing what you want. It’s so much easier to just change your mind. At least you were doing one of the two. There are a whole lot of folks who are neither doing what they want or what they love to do. I’d sure like to hear from some of them. I suspect that my blog readers are mostly populated by folks who are already doing one or the other.

  3. Andrea|Empowered Soul says:

    Interesting article, Tom!

    I agree that people think “doing the work they LOVE” would feel … well … probably not like work at all. Now, I absolutely love and adore my work. I work all the time because I love it. But on some days, it’s still … WORK.

    Here’s the one problem I see with doing work we want vs. love. We can talk ourselves into wanting. We can rationalize ourselves into wanting what’s sensible, convenient, more immediately lucrative. We can decide to want something. Love, on the other hand, is pretty darn hard to talk ourselves into.

    Sometimes people look at their work and think “Well, I can’t change the work (or I’m too lazy or scared), so I’ll just change my attitude and CHOOSE it instead.” But that’s rearranging ourselves to fit our circumstances, rather than creating our experience.

    So, while wanting takes a bit of pressure off … maybe that pressure also reminds us to step up in a bigger and more authentic way?

    I don’t have any answers – it’s a really good distinction you bring up here!

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  4. This is very interesting and an idea that I think intuitively I have been struggling with recently. Now that I see it “on paper” so to speak, I have a question to journal about. I plan to do that – see if I can decipher this notion of work I want to do vs. love to do. Or at least explore it a bit. I love new explorations. Thank you.

  5. I don’t think ‘work on what you want to’ and ‘work on what you love’ are two separate concepts. It’s when you associate love in ‘doing what you love’ as a one time thing that probably problems stem up. You can love something today and love something else after five years. You can also make transitions as and when possible.

    I don’t believe in waiting for that one aha moment to discover one’s true calling for life. We have to let life take it’s course and do what we feel is best for now. Sometimes we have to take up lot of short loves to gain a set of skills which can then be applied to a love which stays for lifetime.

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Beat Jet Lag With Sleep

  6. James – I’ll be sure to check out your post. That’s an excellent transition you described and I agree – it’s never over. Since it isn’t ever over why not just do what we want to do as long as it’s in service to whom we want to serve. That can even be us.

    Andrea – I know what you mean. I love coaching and some days I could do it all day long. But within the coaching I need to have the permission to say no thanks and fire clients that don’t bring me alive. That’s were the want comes in for me. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be doing what we love to do most of the time, still have many opportunities to do what we want to do within the profession we adore. I agree talking ourselves into wanting as in a compromise is bull and we really don’t want that at all.

    Stacey – Please do journal it and come back and tell us what you think. I bet I’ll be pondering this one for days and I’m curious as to what you come up with.

    Avani – Thanks for adding your perspective. That thought had crossed my mind that doing what we want can be our love for now. But at the same time I think that the distinction is certainly worth looking at. At times I’ve hung in there to make something that I love work when I really would have been better off to choose something that I wanted to do at the time. That level of self-honor loosens something up and allows us to approach work in a more playful manner.

  7. Hi Tom. I think you’re really on to something with this entry, and I agree that “loving” your work is overrated. For so long, I felt that I had to find “my passion,” and I believed the hype that if I did what I love, the money would follow. The problem with that, however, is that the pressure to find that “thing”–that passion, created enormous pressure and stress within me. There are things that I get immense enjoyment from such as reading, writing, woodworking, and music. Friends and family would say that I have a passion for these things. But, just because I “love” these things doesn’t mean that I “want” to work in one of these areas.

    I know people who “love” to cook. They derive a great deal of pleasure in making a wonderful meal and could probably do very well as a professional chef or caterer, but that doesn’t mean that they would “love” to do that for eight or more hours a day.

    Also, I knew a very gifted artist (a painter) who went into commercial art (painting billboard art), which provided him with a very good living. Even though he “loved” painting, he said the fact that he was always under the pressure of a deadline kind of sucked the life out of him. So, he quit and began teaching art from his home to a small group of students. So he took his “love” of art and did something he “wanted” to do.

    So, I don’t believe that a person must find what they “love” and do that to be happy. I think that if a person can find work that enables to them use at least some of the qualities, skills, or talents they possess, it can eliminate the pressure to find and do what one “loves.”

    Sorry for the long comment, but thanks Tom. You really gave me something to think about.

  8. Tom,

    You said the concept is still formulating in your own head, so let me throw in something that I have always believed and see if can at all apply.

    Doing what you love does not always equate to work you want to do. Let say you love keeping fish as pets, and it is an enjoyable hobby of yours. That DOES NOT mean you will enjoy running a retail store selling pet fish supplies, or opening up a consulting business for complex or high maintenance fish care.

    Like you said, LOVING you work is a very high standard. You don’t have to find work that you love both as a hobby AND as work. As long as you can find work related tasks you enjoy (eg: you WANT to do) that is more than enough for you to be happy.

  9. You’re onto something here Tom. Though I love a lot of the work I do now, there’s plenty about it I don’t love (bookkeeping, scheduling, editing etc.). But, I chose to do all this work and don’t even attempt to outsource yet because I want to be in touch with my business from top to bottom.

    I’m not quite at the level where I can pick and choose everything I want to do, sometimes I need to accept a job even though I know I’ll hate it to pay the bills or perform a task because outsourcing it is too expensive.

    Another difference between loving and choosing work is that love is an emotion and very tough to quantify, whereas we can immediately know if we’re choosing work or if it’s choosing us.

    The title of your post immediately made me think I’d disagree with the content, but you’ve convinced me. Loving your work is overrated and sets an extremely high ideal that many of us will likely not attain.

    Adam Pieniazeks last blog post..New Site Launched: Sports Fan 4

  10. Hi Tom,

    I do think that doing what you want to do can be much more freeing than loving your work. I too like the lightness.

    I think there are some ‘dif’rent strokes for dif’rent folks’ dimensions to it. I would love to make my money from doing what I love, others feel that the way to ruin what you love is to turn it into a business. They are probably correct for themselves.

    For me the loving comes first – then I’ve tried to find a way to make money at it. This means that all that good advice about finding popular markets and businesses to be in is utterly beside the point. It’s great advice if your first focus is money, but mine isn’t so it just doesn’t apply.

    Evans last blog post..The Time Has Come . . . to Launch

  11. LifeMadeGreat | Juliet says:

    Hi Tom

    This is something to think about. Perhaps the aspects of my current job that I don’t enjoy are about rather about not wanting to do them…

    Thanks
    Juliet

    LifeMadeGreat | Juliets last blog post..An Interview with Tom Volkar from Delightful Work

  12. I believe no matter what I do, I have to be able to find joy in it. In order for me to do the work. I would like to think that we can all only work on things we love, however, not everyone is so lucky. Therefore, I feel that if we can find joy at whatever we do, then we can always work toward doing what we love for life. But no one should have a job they hate, life is too short.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    Giovanna Garcias last blog post..Brooklyn Bridge was build by one finger.

  13. Hi Tom – I suppose I would approach these ideas by saying we find the work we “love” by doing the things we want to do, and seeing what unfolds. I’ve never been a big fan of having big long-term goals, but rather of following the juice as we go along. As you say, going for the big result may just be too daunting, or lead us to miss the small steps we need to take.

    Robins last blog post..Calling All Gods And Goddesses!

  14. Tom,

    This differentiation between “want to” and “love” is useful for many of us. I read the story of a ski instructor who taught skiing because he ‘loved skiing’ only to come to hate skiing because it started to feel like work (duh! because he made it his work!) and wished he’d kept skiing as a hobby he loved, and did some other work. I’ve never forgotten this story.

    Daphne @ Joyful Dayss last blog post..Book Review: Flying By the Seat of My Soul

  15. Interesting thoughts, Tom, and comments also.

    In my life, my minimum requirement for work is that I have to like to do it (I’m still thinking about where ‘want’ fits in…) but mostly, I have to really like and enjoy the people I’m working with. If I’m doing something I ‘love’ but the team/client/boss makes me dread doing the work (or being at work), then it’s not a fit for me. I’ve been involved in several projects where I don’t love the work but the people are so great and I’ve learned so much from them that it was all worthwhile.

  16. It all comes back to choices. We choose to be happy or unhappy, to love or not to love. Think of love as what it is, an action verb, not a state of being. To love something or someone, you choose to do so. I choose to work because it supports those I love. The work becomes the love I show for them. I don’t have to love the work, only the outcome. I would like to be self employed, reporting to no one but my self, doing what I want to do. But I know, at this time, that will not produce an income to support what I love. So my sacrifice becomes my action of love for my family.

  17. Lynn – I’m happy for you that you’ve come to the same conclusion. I think it’s a willingness to continually adjust that makes us sane. I love variety and freshness in my food and in work, (in women too, if I’m totally honest). 🙂 Since I’m quite the Scanner (someone who loves flitting form project to project sucking the nectar from each) I’d go crazy if I had to sentence myself to one profession that I loved every day.

    Matt – You’ve said it well. There are many stories of folks who couldn’t handle turning their passions into businesses. I agree, happiness is about enjoyment in the moment. It’s hard to think that we’d ever enjoy what we don’t want to do.

    Adam – Once again I must credit Egbert for the original idea. His book is quite a read and it doesn’t necessarily clear up this issue but it’s the most fun I’ve had being confused in a long time. 🙂 I use to do more of that choosing work that I really didn’t want to do. Even then I found if I could make a game of it, often I’d end up almost wanting to do it.

    Evan – You’re probably a much freer man because your focus isn’t on the money. In fact you’re someone who I believe when I hear that. Go ahead and mold the world to your making, please. What “they” say is often bull anyway.

    Giovanna – Joy rocks! Delight ain’t bad either. 🙂

    Robin – I’d say that’s the wisest route to doing what we love. Do what we want and see what happens. Brilliant!

    Daphne – Yep I heard the same story about a fly fisherman. Something I’m just realizing now is that doing what we want actually has lots more freedom and breadth to it than doing what we love.

    Juliet – If you don’t want to do certain tasks then they’ll feel like obligation and no one needs to work in that manner.

    Tony – As long as you can live with that compromise and know that it’s only temporary I’ll respect your choice. But what if doing what you want to do could support your family? What if you have erroneously decided that it wouldn’t? Wouldn’t the freer choice be to seize your freedom?

  18. Laurie – Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Welcome. It sounds like those projects where you enjoyed your co-workers may have qualified as work that you wanted to do. Because what we want to do is so simple, we either want it or don’t want it, lots of activities fit doing what we want.

  19. Tom –

    As always GREAT post!!

    My husband LOVES his job – but even so, there are some days when, as he says frequently, “It’s still a J-O-B!”

    You hit the nail right on the head when you said , “High expectations often lead to second-guessing and disappointment.”

    I’m off to read your interview now.

    Kathy | Virtual Impaxs last blog post..Removing the Cat Turds from the Social Media Sandbox

  20. I believe one of the reasons I love what I am doing is because I have choice. I can prioritize my tasks and execute them however I want to. I love to create as well. So creating my own niche in the world allows me to open up any door I choose and walk on in. I don’t love every task I need to complete to reach my self-determined goals, but I do love that I give myself choice to decide what those goals are. For me, I think I could have created a number of different types of businesses for myself and feel the same passion for them as I do for what I have chosen to do. I believe the part that gives me my rush is making my own way, how I want, and seeing it work.

    Back to your sentence on love. We choose to love. Love is beyond that giddy feeling that fades. It is a conscience choice to “grow up” with a person and make your way together in life. At least that is what I believe.

  21. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching says:

    Hi Tom — yes, I think I get it, if “work we love” means something our egos or sense of self-worth get invested in, it’s actually going to become more difficult to succeed or stay motivated because of the sense that so much is riding on the result we achieve. “Work we want” sounds a little less heavy.

  22. Thank you Tom,

    For shamelessly plugging my book! Your kind compliments are making me blush.

    Roughly 50% of our marriages end in divorce, and we are falling out of love at an even higher rate. Love has a poor track record, especially as the basis for a flourishing long term business relationship with oneself.

    Granted, love doesn’t always look like Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa. But elements of insanity or at least manic behavior are lurking in the shadows of every romance. We love being in love to a level of addiction, and here is the opening to unavoidable pain. Our love for love usually dissolves it … if we are lucky.

    Unless we talk about love for our brats, that is–but that kind of caring is hardwired into our DNA. Any damned ostrich can do that.

    Love is a terminal illness. Your love will end or it will end you. Love can literally kill people, and it is healthy to keep in mind that most homicides take place between individuals who once loved each other.

    When we are tired of “loving” destruction and self-destruction, we can simply resolve the relationship entirely or we may opt for transmuting this mushy monstrum into something of durable consistency: able partners can transcend seizures of love and derive from it what they WANT!

    Decades ago I loved my work. I was on a mission (“They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.” –Blues Brothers), and I didn’t believe that this love could end. The stuff we love is fraught with too much meaning. You mentioned ‘the horns of angels:’ “If the horns of angels and blinding white light don’t announce their epiphanies, they often question their discoveries.”

    Frequent questioning of our discoveries is an integral part of a healthy mental diet. People get heart attacks over the impertinent self-importance that’s covered up by their calling. Yep, God’s Will can be a severe case of covert hubris. It serves us well to relax and to re-discover the playful character of old fashioned trial and error.

    Beginning a new business venture can be fun. What’s so wrong with lust? And if it works, why wouldn’t you want to continue?

    Today, I embrace the fact that I am somewhat detached from my projects. Distance makes the heart grow fonder? It does. Emotional distance supports free choice and thickens your bond with everything you really want.

    The next occurrence of love is likely going to be a temporary phenomenon. Worse, our love suspends free will. Freedom of choice is impaired by love, and that can be as sickening as a commitment. Apropos, commitment to psychiatric wards is usually perpetrated by–you guessed correctly–loved ones, in the name of love. Is the sleepiest Saint out there finally snapping to attention?

    ‘Doing what we love’ is just another holy cow on the chopping block: ultimately we don’t do anything we don’t want. Feelings and emotions are always subject to our will. The baby boomers have used their sacred feelings as the most powerful tool to manipulate and to subjugate their environment. The infatuation of a teenager is an intense expression of what she wants.

    So is our love and our hatred for our work.

    Egbert Sukop

  23. Kathy – I think that’s why agreements are so much more fulfilling than expectations. Even those we honor with ourselves lead to fulfillment and not disappointment.

    Laurie – The power to choose repeatedly of our own free will is the most delicious power I enjoy.

    Chris – Yes I think you get it as well. Not only does it sound lighter. it is much lighter by feel and in action and the misses don’t hurt.

    Egbert – Some part of me wonders why I even ask you to comment. 🙂 The initial result is always the same. I find myself further confused until I get to the bloody meat of what you are really saying. I’m appreciative because I think that my first thought about what we love, that it adds needless pressure has actually been validated by your comment.

    I can see that love is a more intense version of what we want. But that intensity often leads to extremes that don’t serve us well. To answer your question – there is nothing wrong with lust. Perhaps that will be my new mantra. Choose work that you lust.
    I suspect that acting on a strong desire may be more fulfilling anyway.

    You said. “Emotional distance supports free choice and thickens your bond with everything you really want.” This sounds like a practice worth it’s investment. I’m intending to let go of the reins a bit more and ride things more playfully.

  24. Yes, yes, I totally agree with you. And you could say:

    And if you can’t be in the work you love
    Honey
    Love the work you do
    Love the work you do
    Do-do do do do do d’do!

    Seriously though, I’m an architect and it’s quite fun but I spent several years blindly searching for something that gave me a sense of True Purpose, you know, and Real Passion, all the time failing to notice that architecture is quite fun.

    Hilarys last blog post..Going with your own flow

  25. Whoa, Tom! Good post, as always.

    I am convinced after having read your post, and using your definitions, that doing work we want to do is key. I do however think that it is really inextricably linked to work we love. I believe Andrea hit the nail on the head and pretty much said what I was going to say with, “We can talk ourselves into wanting. We can rationalize ourselves into wanting what’s sensible, convenient, more immediately lucrative. We can decide to want something. Love, on the other hand, is pretty darn hard to talk ourselves into.” Choices based on want alone can lead us away from work that would be soul-fulfilling. Choices based on love (as opposed to fear) will lead us in the right direction, always.

    Egbert’s concept of love is akin more to infatuation, not love! Love speaks to our heart in the long term – and yes, compatibility and similar interests, while still maintaining enough mystery, and playfulness to stand the test of time are critical in relationships with both work and people. Just because you have gone your separate ways does not mean that you no longer love them! 😉

    Work you want to do I would think of as a subset of work you love to do, like the art teacher example. The love is for art. The want is to teach art. The broader, deeper love encompasses the want.

    And besides, maybe you don’t have to limit yourself! Honestly, when I read these kinds of posts and answers I get the impression that people think they have ONE true work, ONE true love, ONE thing that fulfills them or completes them, which is complete baloney. If you set up your business as suggested in the book The E-myth, you can sell it when you decide it’s not for you anymore and go on to a new passion. If you have a career you were passionate about 20 years ago, but now you’re not – change it. I know lots of people who work at a day job they like and have a business, too. Variety is the spice of life. Why are people attached to the notion that if they love something that it has to be forever? Love is never stagnant. When the little hermit crab outgrows her shell, she’s gotta find a new one. That doesn’t mean she didn’t love her last shell – she just outgrew it!

    For me, a true calling is something that is an expression of my soul-self. But it can be manifested in myriad ways – in both work and hobbies. People have many true callings – not just one. Sometimes they are single and sequential, sometimes they are concurrent. People also equate a calling with work. Is it? Does it have to be?

    I think, Tom, that you are on track when you talk about being your “authentic” self. If you are being authentic then it doesn’t matter if you are doing work you want or love – although it’s likely to be both.

    Blessings,
    Keena

    PS: Sorry this is so long! Maybe you hit a nerve with me! :-O

    Keenas last blog post..Spring Cleaning: Level #1, Environmental Clearing

  26. I am going to need to contemplate and ruminate on this topic for awhile…
    I am doing battle with my WILL right now….and I am not truly understanding that part of my life right now…but I am wandering through each day celebrating 2.5 days of pain freedom and attempting to decipher this Will issue…

    I enjoy writing…I enjoy wandering through my day….I stopped and made homemade burger buns this afternoon because it makes my salmon for breakfast taste better and because I so enjoyed the smell of them baking…kept thinking about yeast to grow…

    I will need to come back – this is playing with my thinking..

    Patricias last blog post..Book Review: Everything Bad is Good For You ~ Steven Johnson

  27. Chrystal K. says:

    Loving your work is never overrated!

  28. Hilary – Welcome. Good song and great realizations. Being happy simply loving what we’re doing is great fun.

    Keena – Thanks for your lengthy response. I love your passion and you make several excellent points. First off I really don’t see love and fear as opposites at all. I do believe that loving your work is overrated and at the same time I totally love it when I do what I want to do. You asked ..”Why are people attached to the notion that if they love something that it has to be forever?” I think because they fear confusion, uncertainty and risk so they seek that one thing that they think will make them safe. But that kind of safety is an illusion. Life is messy and chaotic and thank goodness that it is. I’m also quite the variety freak. 😉 It’s the perfect prescription for doing what the hell it is that I want.

    Patricia – I hope you’ve stumbled on the solution to the state you described in your comment. Do. Just find something and create it, now.

    Chrystal – With a comment like that I suspect that you didn’t read the entire post. If you did – explain yourself!

  29. Brett Legree says:

    Tom – I really like this subtle nuance – it is good.

    Do work you want to do. I have been lucky to have that, once or twice (until someone else took it away!)

    So I keep moving towards doing work I want to do, on my own.

    Brett Legrees last blog post..small choices.

  30. Tom,

    I enjoyed this post very much, but I have to admit I am struggling to distinguish between doing something I want to do and doing something I love to do. Maybe I don’t put as much emphasis on the word “love” in this case.

    I get that if I LOVE to cook, I may not make this a profession, but I still believe in finding work that taps into something I’m passionate about; something that puts me into the “flow.”

    When I think of my past careers, the work I really enjoyed and wanted to do always had a common element for me. That element was, and is, something I love doing.

    Perhaps I’m missing the mark. I’ve certainly done it before. If so, just let me know. Great post:~)

    Saras last blog post..Story Photo Challenge: What is this flower saying?

  31. My theory about work is that it is something that I have to do, and that my purpose in life may not revolve around work at all. But I do need to work, so if my work does not interfere with the time that I need to discover myself and enjoy all the other wonderful parts of life, it is good for me and thus, makes me happy.

    ~ Kristi

    Kikolanis last blog post..8 Reasons to Use Delicious for Social Bookmarking

  32. Each morning for weeks now, I have had carpentry work (my old job) available to me to earn some quick cash to get desperately needed bills paid, but the computer or my yellow pad draws me in, or my guitar in the corner. Promising only to play on these things while I finish my coffee, hours race by and another essay or a new song has appeared and it’s too late in the day to pick up hammer and saw. Some of these are beginning to actually earn me some dollars, opening doors to further writing opportunities that are brilliant with excitement and pay good money too. How great is that?!!!!
    It comes from just allowing the process to lead the way, staying open and trusting that any activity from the heart will pay dividends to the soul.

  33. Brett – Good for you buddy. We all pretty much do what we want to anyway so we might as well make it a consciously chosen process. 🙂

    Sara – Perhaps you do get it. I like to think of “want to” as a much easier to access activity than “love to”. Want to gets me into action sooner because the reach isn’t so high. Once in action my want to often becomes enjoyable enough to the point of loving it as well.

    Kristi – If I were you I’d shoot a little higher than work as an obligation. There must be some value you could offer because you want to offer it. Feeling like you have to restricts options and opportunities.

    Kip – Very great indeed! It sounds as if you are already doing what you want to do. Do what you want and the money will follow.

  34. Great post, Tom! And very timely, at least for me 🙂 I’ve been trying to make very important career decisions lately, and I do agree that it isn’t always between work that we don’t love and work that we love to do. There is also a case of transition where we transcend from something that already bores us or stifles our growth to something that would empower us and enable us to reach loftier goals. Nice blog, I’ve already added you to my blogroll.

    Jocelyn at I TAKE OFF THE MASKs last blog post..On Hope – Inspirational Quote

  35. To some degree this is a semantic argument.
    But like all semantic arguments, the trick is in getting precise:

    After years of playing around with right livelihood concepts, I’ve come to the conclusion that for some individuals, right livelihood is poisoned with the residue of duty. Doing what they love IS, for many, something like sticking with a drab marriage for the kids’ sake.

    For many years, I was a personal fitness trainer. I loved my life while doing it but, notably, didn’t LOVE my work. Exercise, sports, and fitness had been a part of my life since childhood. I enjoyed sharing what I knew with others, helping them with their health and happiness. The emotion surrounding it was calmer and easier than anything I’d call “passion” or “love.”

    Andrea, I think it is hard to rationalize oneself into a want. A want is simple: I want a beer right now. I want some ice cream. I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn. I want to work with people I like. Love is loaded with the notion that it is worth sacrificing wants for.

    “Want” actually describes it better. I LIKED exercising. I LIKED teaching. I WANTED to spend my time in the gym not behind some desk or computer and to have friendly relationships with clients rather than stuffy ones with high-powered colleagues.

    Interestingly enough, some of the biggest critics of my career choice, the ones who insisted I must have some higher calling to make use of my “talents” or “intelligence” were – you guessed it – the “right livelihood” crew.

    • Barbara – “Love is loaded with the notion that it is worth sacrificing wants for.” Thanks for this. Your preciseness did indeed add to the distinction. Interesting that you were judged by the “right livelihood” crew. Not surprising because they can do judgment so well when it doesn’t fit there idea of something. The key of course is just to do what we want to do and enjoy the doing of it. I’m sure that some time in the not too distant future I’ll radically simplify my life and grow vegetables as my first priority, just because I want to. 🙂

  36. Dawn Baird says:

    I love this! Sometimes choices about taking on work are more to do with needing an income, or building a portfolio, or working with great thinkers and doers, MORE than doing what you love. This just isn’t a realistic option all of the time.
    .-= Dawn Baird´s last blog ..Business Networking for Women in Northern Ireland =-.

    • Dawn – Welcome. Good point. But then again being too realistic can be so limiting. I’ve decided that discovering and following a true calling and turning it into a profitable business is our best bet. I almost always want to work on my calling! 🙂

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