You can do what you love.
You know that, don’t you?
This is not about whether or not it’s possible, but about what’s stopping you from moving forward.
You are built to do what you love, and to thrive doing it.
But you’ve picked up habits that work against you. In order to make progress, you have to let them go.
Here are ten that I’ve noticed in my life, and in the lives of the people I’ve helped:
1. Straight Lines
“You must see your career or vocational path more as a journey with twists and turns rather than a straight line.” – Robert Greene, Mastery
Straight lines are a fantasy. Observe nature. It’s full of twists, turns, and surprises.
The twists and turns are the journey. They are challenges that shape you for what’s to come.
When you want to get paid to do what you love, realize that it takes time. There are many skills to learn, many roads to travel, and many mistakes to be made.
To help navigate these turns, I surround myself with friends and mentors, people who can support me, and help me along the journey.
So let go of the idea that doing what you love has to be linear. Let it be chaotic. And let yourself be led by the nudges of your heart.
2. Yearning to Earn
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
The more people you can help, the more success you will have.
But the paradox is that in order to help many, you have to start with one.
Forget about writing a best-selling book, and write something that helps one person, right now.
Big thinking paralyzes. Small ideas nudge you into action.
Have a goal. Have a big goal. But start where you are with what you have.
Apply your ideas. Test them. And help one person today. It’s not going to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes one imperfect sentence can change someone’s life.
3. Fleeing from Hardship
“Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” – Voltaire
Life is difficult. Doing what you love is sometimes like wading in knee-deep mud.
But the difficulty is not the problem. The problem is resisting it, thinking that life should be easy.
The mistakes you make, and the challenges you face, are not obstacles to success, but a part of it.
To figure out what it is that you love to do, and how you can make a living doing what you love, you have to be willing to stumble and fall.
It is only through failing that you will uncover your weak spots. Mistakes show you what you need to learn to succeed.
So make them. Embrace them. Enjoy them.
And remember to enjoy the journey, to sing in the proverbial lifeboats of life.
4. The Tribunal
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” ― May Sarton
To be yourself is not a crime. Good enough is a thought, not reality.
Dare to be yourself, no matter how much it makes your body shake.
There is nothing in life that can force me to be someone I am not. I would rather die than live a lie.
You are born to stand out. There are over 7 billion people on Earth, and not one of them is exactly like you.
Stop trying to fit in, and unshackle your soul. Realize that you determine if you’re good enough or not.
You are the judge that can set you free, or sentence you to a life of misery.
Let go of the need to be good enough. Let yourself be pulled forward by your interests.
5. Hiding Your Story
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ― André Gide, Autumn Leaves
Because you are one of a kind, you have a unique story to tell.
It’s not enough to tell a random story. The key lies in telling relevant stories that help solve problems.
Look at the obstacles your readers, customers, and clients face, and find a story in your life where you solved those problems.
That is how you engineer an inspirational piece of content.
Hiding who you are is a recipe for a bland, tasteless life. To hide from criticism is to hide from life.
You are here to be yourself. So what if some people don’t like it? It’s none of your business.
Piss people off. Let them hate you. What matters is not what others think, but what you think of yourself.
6. Waiting for the Green Light
“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road– Only wakes upon the sea.” – Antonio Machado
No one can live your life for you. There is no ready-made path. You make your path by walking.
I can tell you my story, but you have to be willing to create yours.
You don’t need permission from me, your friends, your parents, or society. You need permission from you.
Let your mind rebel.
Let your body shake with fear.
Forget the green light. Let red be your green.
Whatever it takes, keep moving forward. Destroy your internal borders.
7. Secret Shortcuts
“My dad told me, ‘It takes fifteen years to be an overnight success,’ and it took me seventeen and a half.” – Adrien Brody, Actor
To do what you love, learn to love the process.
It may take you a year, or five, or twenty, but so what? It takes the time it takes.
How long success will take has no effect on what you do now. It doesn’t change the fact that you can only do the best you can with what you have.
If you are not willing to do the work, you are not entitled to the rewards.
Look for shortcuts, and you end up shortcutting yourself.
I know this, because I tried it. I looked for shortcuts, and I ended up wasting $10,000+ and three years of my time. But then something clicked, and everything changed.
Stop looking for shortcuts, and look for learning opportunities. Look for ways to grow, to learn, and to live.
8. Desiring What You Have Not
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~ Epicurus
At the same time, don’t force progress.
We live in a go go go culture, where everything should’ve been done yesterday. It’s a disease, gobbling us up from the inside out, leaving us exhausted and overwhelmed.
You can inoculate yourself by appreciating what you have, and doing what you love.
Take breaks. Recharge. Follow your heart.
The rushing and forcing makes a dangerous assumption: When you get to your goal, you’ll be happy.
If that assumption were true, you would already be happy. You have already achieved goals.
The truth is that when a goal is achieved, a new one is set. The key then to happiness is not to achieve goals, but to revel in what’s already here.
To find the joy in this moment, and to expand it.
9. ‘What’s In It for Me?’
“The first thing to do if you want to become an entrepreneur is basically to have an idea that is going to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. A business is simply that.” – Richard Branson, in a BBC interview
To get paid to do what you love, turn the spotlight from you to the people you help.
How can you make a positive difference in someone’s life?
As we covered before: Don’t think big, think small. Who can you help right now? How can you get started?
What is the smallest step you can take?
For me, with Wake Up Cloud, it was the act of starting this blog, challenging my own fears, and seeing what would happen.
I didn’t know where it would take me, yet here I am.
Trust your heart. Trust life. It will take you where you need to be.
But first you have to be willing to jump off the cliff.
10. Trying to Learn It All
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
You don’t learn and then start. You start and you learn.
If you want to write, you write, in whatever way you can.
Circumstances do not stop you. You stop you. Opportunity is merely the reflection of how you view your circumstances.
When you are ready to take action, opportunity is everywhere.
You don’t need a great idea, confidence, permission, ideas, knowledge, or anything else.
You need to start.
You don’t even need clarity.
You need to take the next step.
It is through falling that you learn.
But Here’s the Thing
Doing all of this alone is tough. You need to surround yourself with friends and mentors.
Whether that’s in a community like my Lifestyle Liberation Academy, or by working 1-on-1 with someone doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you get the help you need to move forward.
This isn’t about living in a fantasy, but stepping into reality.
Set your doubts on fire. Burn what’s no longer needed. And write the next chapter of your life with the ashes of what used to be.
Because you can do what you love.
Deep down you know that, don’t you?
P.S. Interested in discovering your passion? Check out my book: Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself.
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Mark Horan says
What an amazing post! This has come at a time in my life when I needed it the most.
Thank you. I’ve been following your blog for about two years now and always enjoy the honesty and integrity in your words. You are a great example of how you can get paid for doing what you love. Cheers!
Thanks Mark! Glad you liked the post 🙂
A well written & inspirational post there Henri. I have also been following you for quite some time now, probably around a year and it’s always been super nice to get those occasional inspirational blogs/posts from you. You come across super genuine, honest & kind. No wonder you are doing good for yourself on the web 🙂 Best of luck and continue inspiring others!
Much obliged, Daniel. I shall do my best.
This was so timely. Every single word. Thank you
Glad to be of service 🙂
These are very good advise.
But I still don’t know what I’m passionate about. What do you suggest I must do?
Start here: https://www.wakeupcloud.com/passion
And especially here: https://www.wakeupcloud.com/find-your-passion-in-7-minutes/
Great write up.This man is inspirational.God will reward you as you change lives.
How did you get to be so wise at such a young age? Great advice.
Thanks Sherry! I’ve simply followed my heart to the best of my ability 🙂
Thank you for this.
It has challenged me to take ‘the jump’ and stop looking for the right push.
Thank you again.
Glad to hear that. Now jump 😉
Ysabel Cardona says
By far best thing i could read for my growth in life. All the doubts and thoughts that cross my mind are out the door and you made me realize my small goal in my big picture is all worth it. Thank you.
Awesome. Keep rocking, Ysabel. And thanks for reading, and commenting!
Awesome post, I think a lot of people underestimate all the things you have to give up in order to do what you love.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely worth it, but there’s no doubt it’s a lonely road (especially when doing something online) to get paid to do what you love.
Another thing I’d like to add to the list is the approval of others. On the journey of doing what you love, people are going to have their doubts and when some of those people are the ones closet to you, it hurts.
That’s been the hardest challenge for me, to still accept those who doubt me. What I’ve done is try to separate the two, the people who doubt me are still a part of my life, but in no way am I seeking their approval. Really what works best is to never bring it up at all.
It’s a lot of work to get paid to do what you love, and it’s just as much work letting go of all the crap that gets in your way.
Fantastic addition, George.
To riff a bit more on this: I think a key to taking action is not to think about what’s to come (good or bad), but to simply take the next step, and deal with whatever pops up. What I wanted to emphasize with this post is that the expectations many have are not what it’s all about, and that it’s okay to struggle, stumble, and all that.
Thanks! This is remedy =]
Eat your vegetables. Mmm 😉
Lyrical Treasure says
Henri, another sincere piece.
Love the quotes so much. They are so loaded with wisdom.
Since I chose to follow my heart, I have been coming here so often and there is always some inspiration for me.
You my friend, are in a class of your own. 🙂
I can’t get enough of quotes. I hoard them up as if they were about to go extinct.
Awesome! I used to think big and forgot to start small. Frustration is what i get. Thank for this post.
It’s easy to forget that the small leads to the big, and that everything starts with one small step and goes on like that forever. So all it takes is one day, one step, one moment at a time.
Stuart Young says
Excellent post Henri, full of pertinent reminders. I am certainly guilty of pushing myself to achieve more and get frustrated when things aren’t working out how I planned. But as you say – we must just take the next step, no matter how small. That’s what leads us to the next and the next – I call it crossing the river. If you were crossing a raging river you’d prefer the stepping stones to be as many as possible and as close as possible – so why do all want to make such huge leaps? Patience is a virtue my mum always told me – how true that is. 🙂
Yup. Stepping stones. How easy it is to forget. Your mum sounds like a wise one 😉
Steve Roy says
As I start my journey working for myself, your points really hit home. The quote “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not” has a lot of meaning for me.
My blog is my story and I’ve struggled a bit to really let my true emotions come out. It’s the fear of being judged, worrying about who will read it, and how I’ll look. It’s easy to put up a front and avoid being vulnerable and I’m working on it, but I know that’s where success lies for me.
Thanks for this…
And remember, none of this is in vain. All the uncovering what doesn’t work is progress toward what does work.
Thanks for commenting, and sharing, Steve!
thabiso hlongwane says
This is the best post I have ever read, an inspirational post. I now have confident in myself, I’m a new blogger with no one following my blog but I won’t give I will always write till I’m recognized.
Thanks so much for the article.
It has motivated me to think in what I really want and to make the first step to achieve it.
Thank you for this article! It is good to read and get reminded of the importance of enjoying the moment and looking back and cherishing what I have. I often get carried away and think of all the things I could have or do more or better if I only had more time… And reading your posts is like a wake-up call to just enjoy life and be more patient. Thanks again for the good read and keep it coming! 🙂
Charlene Baker says
Wow, what an amazing post!!! This really spoke to me…I am grateful to have read this today, it was truly on time. Thank you Henri!
Tony H says
Great post, I recently quit my corporate job and moved onto what I’ve wanted for years, owning my own business. It hasn’t been easy but it is so much more enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.
Your blog is awesome..very honest and straight forward. Stumbled upon this while looking for something else. This is wat i really needed to hear right now..so thank you and good luck!
Your articles are for when it absolutely, positively, needs to be understood overnight.
Thanks for the post. This is just what I needed today. Keep rocking!!!
Cornelia Wylldestar says
Thank you so much for your post, for being YOU, and for sharing your ideas and self with your readers. Today’s piece had the uniqueness and promise of a sunrise. What you do with your blog reminds me of this quote by Robert F. Kennedy.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Senator Robert F. Kennedy, June 6 1966 (South Africa address)
Thank you for creating such powerful ripples.
Thanks Cornelia. And thank you for reading!
Its so enlightening to read sooo many inspiring and uplifting thoughts in one article. It’s like infusing yourself with energy. ??
Nice. Glad to hear that!
Henri, you rock! This post was the first thing I read when I woke up and boy did you light a fire under me! I was filled with hope and excitement. Thank you, Henri.
Good stuff, Paula 🙂
Rob wall says
Great article, love all the inspiring quotes and your advice as usual is very informative and helpful, i don’t think I’ve commented before but I just wanted to say thanks for all the great content.
Thanks, Rob. Appreciate it!
This was an absolutely wonderful article! Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom with the world Henry!
Appreciate it, Misha. Thanks for commenting!
Larry Steward says
Thanks for shedding the light Henri. I’m 72 and still carving my path and making big changes. I am sharing this link with my adult son and daughter so hopefully they can benefit from your wisdom much earlier in their lives. I’ve always believed in “doing what you love” but as you point out, it can be a challenging journey. Having the proper perspective can turn those mountains into flowering meadows that pull you forward instead of bringing you to a standstill. Great stuff!
Absolutely. Thanks for sharing and reading, Larry 🙂