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.