I regularly receive emails from readers who want to know the best way to start doing work they love.
It’s a common question, with a simple, yet uncomfortable answer.
If you’re honest with yourself, and ready to work hard, you’ll love the answer.
If you’re looking for shortcuts, you’ll keep on looking.
And this is the problem.
Most people look for guarantees and shortcuts.
And This is All Backwards
Many of the fears we have when it comes to doing work we love come from the assumption that we need to succeed right away.
We think failure is a lethal injection straight into our veins, but it’s not.
Failure doesn’t mean death, it means (potential) growth.
When you talk to people who do what they love, they’ll tell you stories of spectacular failures.
It is through their trials that they’ve gained enough experience to succeed. Not through trying to come up with one perfect idea.
The Best Way to Do What You Love
The best way to do what you love is to take one tiny step at a time.
This doesn’t mean you don’t plan or set goals. It means you focus on the next step you can take.
You start where you are with what you have, and you do your best.
You avoid giving power to your fears, worries, and what ifs.
I did this when I started my business, when I wrote my first book, and when I created my first course. I was confused and scared most of the time, but I focused on the next step.
And with each step I took, another step revealed itself.
As time passed, things became easier, but I still have periods of anxiety and discomfort. That’s part of the process.
It’s not something to run away from, but something to embrace.
What many try to do is learn everything before they start. They think it’ll eliminate the fear and anxiety, but it often makes it worse.
The Problem With Trying to Learn Everything
The problem with trying to learn everything is that you don’t know what you need to learn before you start.
When you start, you run into real problems, which means you need to find real, focused solutions in order to make progress.
It’s like a video game; there’s always new problems to solve, and the more problems you solve, the more experience you gain, and the more your character grows.
The same is true for doing what you love.
You can’t prepare for what’s to come. You can only start and do your best. You will face problems and it’s up to you to solve those problems.
Doing what you love requires courage, because you have to start before you feel ready.
Trying to learn everything doesn’t work, because you don’t know what that everything is, and there always seems to be more you can learn.
A Few Helpful Ideas
You could sit there and dream about what could be, or you could take a tiny step toward doing what you love.
There are a few essential shifts you need to make, especially if you’ve been stuck for months, or years.
Here they are:
- Challenge your mind. You have thoughts of possible bad things happening. The more you take action despite these thoughts, the more you see that your mind can’t predict the future, and hence shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
- Become a problem solver. No one else can do this for you. They can help, but you have to take responsibility for taking action, facing problems and solving them. Until you do this, nothing happens. How long are you willing to wait?
- Focus on what you can do. You can’t avoid failure, mistakes, or fear, so why even try? What you can do is your best. Even if you’re completely new to this right now, you can start somewhere. You’ll struggle a lot, but you’ll learn.
So, there is no secret formula. The best way forward is through small, simple steps.
If you truly want to do what you love, there is no right time.
Start before you feel ready.
All the best,
Ready to Do What You Love?
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This article really hit home! Especially, “What many try to do is learn everything before they start. They think it’ll eliminate the fear and anxiety, but it often makes it worse.” That is so true. I feel I just don’t know enough to get started and the more information I get the more anxious I feel about starting anything….so nothing happens. I am still not sure what I really “love” many things interest me. But I know I have to start following one of these interests and see where it takes me. What I do know is that even though I like my job I am tired of the 9-5 and want more freedom. This article is a wake up call to stop thinking and start doing! Thanks!
Good stuff, Sharon!
Start with whatever interests you and don’t worry too much where it’ll take you. We’re here to enjoy ourselves, right? 😉
Really awesome post.
But I have a problem here: if i don’t know what i love or what I am passionate about then what to do?
Let me explain. I love talking about money, I love money, but loving money is not a “WORK” that i can do all the time.
Now what to do?
Most of the time when people say they don’t know what they’re passionate about, they believe they have to be on fire about a topic, and that isn’t the case.
I’m sure you’re interested in something. Like you said, you love money. And while that is not work, that is a starting point.
Don’t try to force things, but follow the breadcrumbs. If you have an interest, then think about what you feel excited about doing right now.
Sometimes that could be reading a book, taking a course, or whatever it is. You have to start somewhere.
You could come up with endless reasons for why it won’t work, but in the end it’s up to you to either start or stay where you are.
Hope this helps!
“And with each step I took, another step revealed itself.”
I love this quote – you are so right! I was overwhelmed with information and courses about blogging and starting an online business. I finally got going despite feeling that I didn’t know enough. But now, even though I’m really new to blogging, I feel like the next steps are becoming clear.
Thanks for all your great advice over the last few years – you are truly inspirational!
Hope the baby’s doing well!
That’s great to hear, Janeen!
Baby’s doing excellent. Thanks for asking 🙂
Andrew Bakenstoss says
It’s great inspiration to read your column. What I’ve discovered is to be patient and not become discouraged, because everything takes time to evolve. The mind/ego has no interest in success or prosperity because it’s interest is in control; and it would lose if I become successful. The mind/ego wants immediate gratification and tries to convince me that i failed when no quick results come right away. I know that effort is rewarded and only a little patience is needed.
Couldn’t have put it better myself, Andrew!
Ali Manning says
Great post – I really enjoyed reading it! It so resonated with me. I started an Etsy store last year and for once in my life, I just jumped in and did the best I could. Normally, I plan to the point of not even starting a venture. But this time around, I just did it. It wasn’t perfect and I made so many mistakes. But I’ve learned so much from those mistakes that I’m glad I made them. I continue to make mistakes everyday, but slowly I’m seeing some success and this motivates me to keep making the mistakes and to continue to improve.
Good stuff, Ali.
When you take action and run into real world problems, you get real world experience, which is crucial.
Peter Hamilton says
I love this post Henri. Always bang on! I thought according to many of the so called internet gurus you need to put in every living minute of your life into your business or you are not serious about it. It was 24/7 or nothing. But how about buying another product from me (your know it all guru) just in case because it will give you faster results but wait there is more $$$.
Now I get it and understand it is just ONE step at a time regardless how big or small it is. Just one step a day can make such a difference or even half a step as long as you are TAKING ACTION! Thanks once again Henri.I also really love the way you keep things so simple and easy to understand without going into all the hype.
Yeah, I find most of the gurus create imaginary scenarios just to get sales, but that’s what they’re good at, so to each his own. It’s all good.
I’m here to spend most of my life having fun, and since I love the work I do, that makes it much easier. There’s no need to stress out, just take one step at a time and see what happens.
Thanks for the comment, Peter!
This is absolutely true. I know for the last few years I personally struggled a lot.
Heck, even with my idea for the blog I now have I had so many ideas and you even helped me clear up a few.
I was still stuck in my own worries, though. So, I let them go, focused on what I could do right now, and took action.
Now I’m doing what I love right now and will see how it goes because it’s a journey that brings experience and creativity and fun. And the best part is, the planning, thinking, analyzing and so fourth doesn’t bring that stuff. Action does! 🙂
What you said here: “The problem with trying to learn everything is that you don’t know what you need to learn before you start.”
That is the problem but by thinking about the first step you can take and not worrying about what will happen until it does, that works.
“When you start, you run into real problems, which means you need to find real, focused solutions in order to make progress.”
And this, exactly. Once you take action, get results and feedback, you’ll find out what to do next if you keep on going.
Action is all part of the journey. Without it, you’re just standing still and looking at what could be, not what is.
I’m glad you’re taking action, Eric 🙂
And being scared is normal each day, but if you make taking one more step a normal thing each day, that fear decreases just a bit over time.
That’s what I’m finding.
Thanks for always offering the best.
Such an inspiring article.
The problem with trying to learn everything is that you don’t know what you need to learn before you start.—–> so true
We have to work hard, fear less ,make mistakes and fail, thats the only way to grow up.
Stay well and keep rocking Henri!
Henri, you hit on a lot of good points, I would like to add the work “Expectations”.
Do you start with doing what you love with expectations, or do you start without expectations? What I’m getting at is people, myself included, started online with something they were passionate about with the expectation that at some point it would make money. If it doesn’t, well, this is the point that our emotions play havoc with the whole idea of doing any online venture.
To be fair with folks I think we have to evaluate a persons passion with commercial value so there is no mistake about the potential outcome as far as profits are concerned. Having said all that the cool thing about the Internet is you can start out with something you love, change course and discover other things you enjoy that may be just as profitable.
Good point, Ric.
This is exactly what I cover in my finding your niche class, which I’ve just finished conducting yesterday with the first group.
You should not only look at what you’re passionate about, but find the intersection between what you want to do and what others are willing to pay for.
Awesome post, Henri! You have addressed something that I think is the biggest problem of all people. I find myself struggling with finding the connection to turn something I love to do into something that I can use as something that would support me for the rest of my life.
You are right. We should stop obssessing about finding immediate success. I am guilty of this–a lot which is maybe why up until now I am struggling with my blog.
Thank you for the excellent tips.
By the way, congrats on the new baby.
Henri, I have told you I found your books and videos to be very helpful,particularly the one on why people don’t take action.Concern that you might be making a mistake before your take action, or during taking action is understandable,but fear and anxiety is not required if you want to learn the causes of those two “unhappy” emotions.Its an incorrect belief that most of us learned in childhood that fear somehow in needed to protect ourselves.”I have to be unhappy now to be happy later” is the gist of it.Somehow if you weren’t anxious or fearful you would be unaware of risks.See Option Method,Option Process for discovering hidden beliefs that fuel unhappiness.
” your mind can”t predict the future”….not only valuable in business and relationships but when my mind tells me I can’t succeed on my next golf shot “
Christina Donaldson says
Thank you, Henri! This came at the perfect time. I am about to graduate and heading towards my dream work, coaching! This article nailed what I’ve been going through, and brought to light the tiny voice in my head that’s been saying the same thing: go for it, there is no better time!
Hi Henry, Awesome piece of article, and I always find your posts at the right time, pulling me out of the dormant state and set me on track.
Thank you God bless
The best line I like is “And with each step I took, another step revealed itself.” Its so true, we want to know the whole plan in order to feel secure but our soul or inner self tells us just to see what needs to be done next and trust it that all will be good. No need to see the whole staircase but just the next step. I have myself experienced so much fulfillment, satisfaction and as if I am living the best life when I just think about what to do next. I feel it is so because when we are present and just think about next step our intuition most likely is clear and strong thus easy to follow. If we live this way essentially we can live life in surrender to our intuition.