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Do What You Love…

Heart Lightbulb“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” ~ Confucious

No one has since said it better.  If we are passionate about what we do, we don’t dread Monday mornings.  On some level, we all know and agree with the premise.  It makes perfect sense that if we love what we do, we’ll do it better, longer and with more care.  If you will, just imagine for a moment, what the world would be like if everyone loved what they did!

Entire books are dedicated to to the topic and yet it is a quest many people never realize in their lifetime.  Some are lucky enough to stumble into it early on and “just know” what it is they are meant to do.  Others spend their entire lives working at what they feel is a drudge job, all the while feeling that surely there is “something more”.  We may agree with the premise however, we also recognize the fundamental need to survive.

We can have both.  We’ve seen many cases of people who have achieved just that and live wildly successful, and deeply fulfilling lives.  If that is what you want but don’t happen to be one of the lucky ones who has always ‘just known’ what it is that lights your fire, you may need to do a bit of self-discovery work.  Here are a few ideas to get you going.

First things first.  Do you know what you are most passionate about?   Sounds simple, right? Right away, this is where many people just get stuck. Most of us have received so much direction throughout our lives (what we ‘can’ or ‘should’ do) that we’ve lost touch with our core, and will need to take stock in order to determine what is most meaningful to us today.  I suggest you take pen and paper, find a quiet corner and begin your quest by taking stock.

Taking Stock

First a couple of guidelines:  Give yourself full permission to explore all ideas that pop into your mind, allow yourself to dream.  This may sound a bit silly however, we all have a great propensity to self-edit as we move through our day and this is not the time to do that.  Just put the negatives aside for now.  If you get stuck, try a bit of mind mapping and see if that helps you get unstuck.  Also, remember that there is no single “right” answer.  You will continue to evolve over time and shifts in direction are to be expected.

  1. Take stock of your inherent talents.  Write down everything that you are inherently good at (at work and at home), things that you don’t have to work too hard at, things that you’ve heard from others about you.
  2. Add to your list any skills that you have developed either for work or for your personal life.
  3. Finally, consider anything that you’ve been intensely interested in learning about and may want to pursue.  It isn’t too late to become adept at new things!
  4. If you can remember what it was that you wanted to be as a child, add it to your list.

Given your list, consider each talent, skill or interest with the following questions in mind;

  1. What are the activities that make you lose your sense of time.  What are the things that, when you do them, you lose all track of time?
  2. What would you rather do more than anything else in the world?
  3. What makes you smile?
  4. What would you do whether you or not there was payment for it?
  5. What could you talk about all day long?
  6. What revitalizes you and gives you energy?
  7. What makes you excited to get up and get at in the morning?

Spend a good bit of time reflecting on your list and these questions.  Meditate about it.  Really reflect what you feel and remember not to self-edit.  Do you now have one or just a couple of things on your list that satisfy the questions?   Now it is time to try it (or them) on for size….

What does the future hold?

Once you know what it is that really gets you going, you can brainstorm ways to build a career around your passion and determine your purpose.   Imagine your future in 5 years, 10 years and beyond in as much detail as possible and write down what that looks like;

  1. What does a typical day look like?
  2. What and how much are you giving back?
  3. Who are you surrounded by, who are your friends?
  4. Where do you live?  What does your house look like?
  5. How much is in the bank?

You get the idea.  How does it feel?  Does it fit and feel ‘right’?  If it does, you’ve got it and given your picture, you can set about planning your path and how to get it done!

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Was it easy for you to determine your passion?

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24 Responses to Do What You Love…

  1. Kimberly Wagner May 23, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    I am with you in wanting to live a wildly fulfilling life doing something I love. I have come to the conclusion thought that you and I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for the people who decide not to do it…those who do the undesirable jobs in our society. It could be argued though that many are satisfied with the 9 to 5, menial labour job, even if they don’t love it. I am thankful that there are those who don’t want to do what I’m doing.

  2. Linnea May 23, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Excellent point, Kim.

    There are a tremendous number of people who are just much more comfortable with well-defined job descriptions and with being told precisely what to do, and when to do it. That is what makes them happiest. We are blessed that it takes all types, with unique desires, to spin this world of ours….it would be terribly boring otherwise. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  3. Kimberly Wagner May 25, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Very nicely put. It’s not a negative that others like the defined job description. It’s a matter of choice.

  4. Linnea May 25, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Exactly. It’s simply a different way of being, a different method of operating, if you will.

  5. Evelyn May 26, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    Linnea, I love question #4 of ‘taking stock’ where you ask, “What would you do whether you or not there was payment for it?” I love that question because my answer is writing, and since it’s what I do for a living it gives me great joy.

    We spend so much of our lives doing work. Why not use that time to live our dreams and fulfill our life’s purpose? Wasn’t it Gibran who said, “Work is love made visible?” Excellent post. Thank you. 😉
    .-= Evelyn´s last blog ..The Power of Attention =-.

  6. Linnea May 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Thank you, Evelyn.

    You are indeed, one of the lucky ones, to be doing what you love!
    I’m such a huge fan of books and writing is one of the noblest of passions (IMHO)..kudos to you.
    Love the quote too. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. George May 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

    I resonate very strongly to the compelling points you make, Linnea. They remind me strongly of Joseph Campbell’s wise advice to “follow your bliss.”

    Although I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes in life, I decided sometime in late childhood that the most important criterion for choosing my life’s work was that it be FUN! I’m not sure where that idea came from, but I definitely regard it as one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made.

    Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring encouragement to “know thyself” and “to thine own self be true.”

    With warm regards,
    .-= George ´s last blog ..Mindfulness–An Ancient Antidote for All Addictions =-.

  8. Linnea May 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi George,

    Thank YOU for such a thoughful comment.
    and thank you for reminding me of Joseph Campbell.
    I’m a big fan but am sorely overdue for revisiting his work.
    (I believe I’ll get that fixed in short order.)

    You are indeed one of the lucky (and yes, wise) ones to have learned that lesson so early in life.
    Given your early wisdom, have you been able to fulfill that desire in your work?

    ~ Linnea

  9. Chris Bernardo June 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm #


    Nice things to think about, “Give yourself full permission to explore all ideas that pop into your mind, allow yourself to dream.”

    Well said, i like to say anything is possible and great things happen to those the explore possibliities.
    .-= Chris Bernardo´s last blog ..How to have a Successful 30 Day Challenge – From Day 1 =-.

  10. Linnea June 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    Amen to the possibilities!!
    If you don’t explore, you’ll wonder ever more :)

    ~ Linnea

  11. Karen Smith June 2, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    This is so true about doing what you love and having fun at it too!
    Many times there are others that would love to be doing something different, but they are set in their ways.
    .-= Karen Smith´s last blog ..How I show appreciation sometimes! =-.

  12. Linnea June 2, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Hi, Karen.

    I agree that sometimes folks are set in their ways but sometimes it’s a matter of feeling as though they don’t have a choice for any number of reasons (financial etc) or that they don’t know how to go about approaching such a change, don’t know what they would/could do or just plain fear (what if they should fail?). It really is an interesting conundrum for many.

    ~ Linnea

  13. Yorinda July 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    that is a great quote by Confucius.
    I love your questions.
    I agree to explore what we are passionate about and what energizes us is so important.
    Counteracting the old conditioning of ‘working hard’ is probably a hurdle for a lot of babyboomers, especially those who grew up with parents who had to start over again after the war in Europe.

    Thanks for the post

    Love and Light
    Yorinda recently posted..Joy is the GoalMy Profile

  14. Linnea July 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi Yorinda,

    You are so right that it is likely a larger hurdle for boomers than perhaps for others.
    Thanks for adding that very interesting observation.
    You are welcome for the post…glad you enjoyed it.

  15. Lynn Glaser September 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    You’ve provided a really great list of probing questions to find your passion. I’m all about doing what you love, you only have one life to live!!

    Unfortunately I don’t think I have found my true passion. I have tried many mind mapping sessions and quiet time away from it all to see what I could come up with but nothing popped up. However, I do believe each time I try one of these techniques I get closer to it. I know I am getting closer because I have figured out the things I don’t like doing and have stopped doing them and am happier as a result.

    I enjoyed your post, thanks.


    Lynn Glaser recently posted..BrainstormingMy Profile

  16. Linnea September 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Hi Lynn,

    Glad you found my list to be useful. Finding your passion can be work and take a ton of introspection but is well worth the journey. Congrats on doing the work. It would seem to me that discovering what you don’t like or want is extremely valuable as well and may lead you in the right direction. It may also be of help to realize that your passion may be one that evolves over time in which case, getting closer is half the battle. Keep up the great work and best of luck in your journey.

  17. Chester Delameter February 7, 2011 at 8:13 am #


    Loving what you do makes such a difference in your life. I try to encourage people to find that thing they love to do, then go out and find a way to make a living at it. As a clown I can reach a lot of young people and encourage them!!

    Have a Great Day

  18. Linnea February 8, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Hi Chester,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The real trick is, as you say, to find a way to make a living at it. We spend far too much time at ‘work’ so might as well make the most of it. It makes it a whole lot easier to get up in the morning. I love that you are encouraging our young people to explore their dreams! Thanks for your comment.

  19. Eliane Carbajal April 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Linnea, this is a wonderful post!! The world would really be such an amazing place if everyone worked in things they loved. I feel very fulfilled and happy and passionate about everything I do, but you’ve listed some very introspective questions to think about. Thanks for the inspiration and great food for thought. Wishing you a spectacular weekend x

  20. Linnea April 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Eliane,

    Thank you so very much for the glowing words! Yes, wouldn’t it be an amazing world indeed! It’s great to hear that you feel so good about everything you do. So many people don’t these days that it’s great o hear from those who do. May you continue to live a deeply fulfilled and inspired life! You have a great weekend, too and thanks for stopping by.

  21. Jans Mendoza May 11, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    This is such a wonderful post Linnea. It inspires me. Doing what we love is something that could really help us optimize our life. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that you’re waking up everyday to do what you absolutely love. It doesnt end up being just work anymore. It becomes a passtime and the hours fly by. And I usually feel doing what we love is giving our gifts to the world. :)

    Jans Mendoza recently posted..Are you struggling to find topics to blog aboutMy Profile

  22. Linnea May 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Jans,

    Wow, what a great statement to make “…giving our gifts to the world”. I think that is a really great way to look at it and reminds me once of someone who actually said that we owe it to the world to share our gifts. Builds on your thought nicely, yes?

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  23. Buddy Hodges July 2, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    The goal to do what you love or “follow your bliss” is one of my very favorite ideals. Generally I have taken this “road less traveled,” but it has been a bumpy road. Freedom and independence is the “American Way,” and, to me, it is worth the sacrifices. The Fourth of July is a good time to reflect on the words or Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

    Had I followed more traditional paths, I think I would have had more money and more security. “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is NOT what ships are made for.”
    “Oh, there were times…when I bit off more than I could chew. I ate it up and spit it out, and did it MY WAY!”
    Buddy Hodges recently posted..Leadership by Cheer LeadingMy Profile

  24. Linnea July 6, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Hi Buddy,

    A fellow after my own heart! Independence Day is a very important holiday to me. I reflect a lot on what our service folks do for us, what our forefathers did in the name of freedom and how that took so much courage to do. It certainly is the “American Way” as you say to express our entrepreneurial desires and good for you for giving it a go. It may well have been a bumpy road but surely not quite as bumpy as the one our forefathers encountered. Best of luck with your endeavors, Buddy and I hope to hear more soon.

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