How To Make The Transition To Doing What You Love

I believe the things we love to do are clues to what our purpose is in life. We all have things we love to do, things we developed at an early age.

The sad reality is most people have put off doing the things they really love to do for “someday” or maybe “one day.” The late Steve Jobs had a famous quote, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Our greatness is best expressed when we love the things we do in life. When we are not expressing our gifts and talents, there is a part within us that feels stagnant, stifled and trapped. When we experience such emotions, it can:

  • Affect us physically.
  • Demotivate us.
  • Lower our level of performance and effectiveness.
  • Affect our mood and happiness.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I had a corporate career, I knew it wasn’t what I would be doing long term. I had an inkling that I was called to do something different, however I first had to discover what were the things I really loved. The truth is the things I loved to do were always within me – I just had to connect with them again.

When I made the transition from a corporate career to business owner, unfortunately I made a lot of mistakes which caused me to struggle to meet my most basic needs. That is not a good place to be and fortunately, I have learned some valuable lessons which I’ll share so that if you’re contemplating making a similar change, you won’t make the same mistakes I did.

Here are five things to consider as you start transitioning from what you are currently doing to what you’d love to do. Although this is not a complete list of things to do, these are the things I wish I had done before I took the leap into the world of entrepreneurship.

  1. Be clear whether you are choosing a new career or a new hobby. Doing what you love does not necessarily mean you will be starting a new business or create a new income opportunity. For example, some people love to paint and are happy to paint for fun only. On the other hand, some artists want to be able to sell their paintings and earn a living from their artwork.

    This is why knowing what you’d love to do is critical. One way to get clarity is to answer this question: “If time and money were not an issue, I would love to…” Make a list of at least 20 things.

  2. Don’t quit your job too soon. If our most basic needs are not met and we’re unable to cover our expenses, that will create so much stress. If we’re not careful, pretty soon we’ll be scrambling to try and earn money just to survive. That is not a good place to be in and it is one of the main things I wish I had done differently.

    Initially, there will be a period when it will feel like you have two careers — your normal job and what you are transitioning to. If you want to earn income from doing what you love, ensure you start generating enough income from the new thing you are doing so that you can cover your everyday expenses. Once your living expenses are covered, you can start reducing how much time you devote to your job and more to the things you love to do.

  3. Find a need in the marketplace. Just because we love to do something does not entitle us to earn money from it. If we want to earn a living from doing what we love, it must fill a need in the marketplace and it should be something people want. Some questions to consider are:
    • Is there an unmet need in the marketplace for the thing I love to do?
    • Are people willing to pay for the things I love to do?
    • What are some of the pain points that my market is experiencing right now?
    • What can I do to offer something that is unique or distinct?
    • What can I do to generate sustainable income over the long term from the things I love to do?
  4. Start networking early. Chances are you won’t know all the answers to the questions above so the best way to find out those answers is to start meeting people from different networks. It can be at business networking events, workshops, seminars, trade shows, expos, Meet-up groups, etc. The sooner you’re able to form new relationships and let people know what you do, the better off you’ll be when you do take the leap and start doing what you love exclusively.
  5. Form a support network or have trusted advisors. Challenges will come up as we transition to doing what we love. This is why having people we can reach out to for advice and guidance will be extremely helpful. This can be a formal relationship such as with a coach, or an informal relationship with a mentor or someone you look up to and trust.

It is important to point out that there are and will always be things we do that we may not necessarily enjoy. While we should not accept it as an unchangeable reality, at the same time, we should not have a false idea that we will only be doing what we love. Yes, there will be times when it will feel like a grind, however we must be clear as to why we doing it and what the rewards will be.

When we are doing what we love, that’s when we really experience the full joy of life and it is expressed in everything we do. The best part about it is, we will inspire those around us to do the things they love as well.

Action Step: Make a list of at least 20 things by answering the question: “If time and money were not an issue, I would love to…”

Question: What are you doing at present to allow yourself to do more of the things you love to do?

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  • Jane Ransom

    All so true! No better way than to learn from mistakes.–Thanks for allowing others to learn from yours, Neel. 🙂

    • Neel Raman

      While my mistakes were painful at the time, they were necessary for me to learn the lessons I needed to in order to make progress. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.