“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell
Just a few short years ago, I didn’t know I could get paid to do what I love.
I was stuck in rules, shoulds, and what people thought I should do.
But then things changed.
I started listening to myself, to my inner GPS.
I discovered more joy, happiness, and peace.
I realized that life isn’t about getting something or becoming someone in order to be happy.
Life is about being happy and then following the inspirational nudges you get.
The truth is that you can do what you love, no matter what anyone says.
How do you do it?
That’s what you’re about to discover, at least my version of it.
Step 1: Be Right Here, Right Now
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
You want to do what you love, but you don’t want to be where you are.
This creates tension.
This tension isn’t always bad, because it gets you to take action, but it can become too much. And it can make you force progress, instead of waiting for life to reveal your path.
The first step to doing what you love is to be where you are fully. What do I mean by this?
I mean making peace with your current situation. I mean accepting it as it is, and even looking for things that you appreciate.
When you’re grateful for what is already in your life, you get more of it. Even if you don’t believe you get more of what you focus on, it’ll make you feel good, which means you’re more likely to tap into your inner GPS and inspiration.
And when you follow your inspirational nudges, the joy, passion, and excitement in your life grows.
Don’t get me wrong though. Even though I’m making a living doing what I love, I still have days where I’d rather be somewhere else. This isn’t about eliminating bad feelings forever. It’s about noticing that you can be happy now.
It’s about becoming aware that you can let go of unnecessary struggle. You can stop complaining and making excuses. You can gradually start following your excitement.
If you want more on living in the present moment, watch the video below:
Step 2: Follow Your Excitement
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey
As you begin focusing on what’s working in your life, you start to feel better, and your connection to your inner GPS grows stronger.
It’s like using your phone. In some areas, the reception is poor, while in other places, it’s perfect.
The same is true for following your excitement. When you feel good, happy, and peaceful, you have a clear connection to your inner wisdom.
When you have a strong connection, you get inspirational nudges. You start to notice that some decisions feel better than others. That’s your inner GPS showing you the way, telling you to “turn left at the next exit.”
You won’t get a detailed plan. You’ll get the next step.
You will want guarantees, and you will want to know where you’re going.
I know, because I wanted to know when I first started following my excitement, and I still do to some extent. What helped me was to remember that I didn’t have to overhaul my whole life.
I could start small.
In fact, I recommend you start small. Start tiny. Maybe you feel inspired to read a book, call a friend, or take a walk. Whatever it is, do it.
When I started this blog in December of 2009, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no idea where I was going. Heck, this blog started off as a personal development blog, and later developed into what it is today.
Not knowing what to do didn’t stop me, and it shouldn’t stop you either.
Look at what you’re interested in and follow the breadcrumbs. Follow your excitement.
Step 3: Welcome Fear
“A person’s fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
At some point, you’ll run into fear.
When you follow your excitement and passion, beliefs that no longer serve you will float to the surface so you can let them go.
But fear in and of itself is not as scary as you might first think. As the quote above says, fears are easier to deal with in the present moment.
When you run away from fear, or suppress fear, you make things worse.
So how do you deal with fear? You welcome it.
For example, let’s say you’ve found something you’d love to do. You’re excited. Your heart is beating. You’re ready to go. But uh oh, then the what ifs enter. What if it doesn’t work out? What will people think?
What if. What if. What if.
What you do is feel the what ifs fully.
Don’t judge. Don’t analyze. Focus on the feeling they produce. Notice where the feeling is. Let the feeling take over your body. If you feel like you can’t, feel the “I can’t” as well. Keep welcoming everything that pops up and focus on the feeling.
When you feel fear, you allow it to leave you.
When you suppress fear, you store it in your closet, where it can come out and scare you when you least expect it.
Doing what you love isn’t a path without challenges. You’ll have to face your fears. You’ll have to deal with confusion.
But it’s all worth it, and it’s a lot of fun when you shift your perspective.
Step 4: Action-Based Learning
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
If you don’t take action, nothing happens.
It’s great to get all fired up, but at some point you have to take the first step.
And often that first step has to be taken before you’re ready.
So often people tell me, “When I have X figured out, I’m going to start.”
If you want clarity, you have to start somewhere. If you don’t know what to do, it doesn’t matter where you start. You’ll figure things out as you go. In other words, things will figure themselves out.
So what does action-based learning mean?
It means learning enough to take the next step.
For a long time, I tried to learn everything before I started. I bought course after course after course. I took coaching. I never committed to taking action. I ended up wasting over $10,000 in the process.
Once I discovered the power of action-based learning, I went from $0 to $2,000+ per month within a year, and we moved to Spain for 11 months.
You may never feel truly ready, but you don’t have to.
All you have to do is notice where your excitement is nudging you and take the next step. You’ll figure things out as you go. Here’s a video going deeper into what I mean:
Step 5: Simplify Your Life
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Doing what you love is easier when your expenses are low.
When I shifted from being a professional poker player to making a living online, I minimized my expenses.
Lowering my expenses meant living simply, but not depriving myself. Most of all, it meant that I had to make less money to “make it.”
This helped take off some of the financial pressure, and it allowed me to enjoy the process more. And that’s really the key here, you have to enjoy the journey, because if you’re miserable getting to “what you love,” you’ll be miserable when you arrive.
Today, we live in a house (my partner, and our two children) and we still have relatively low expenses while living comfortably.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to live like I do. What I’m saying is that you have expenses in your life that can be eliminated. You can remove some of the financial pressure in your life and create space for freedom.
So look at your life and look at where you can eliminate what is no longer necessary. In the early stages, the fewer expenses you have, the better.
Getting paid to do what you love takes time. It takes time to figure out what you want to do, and it takes time to discover what works and what doesn’t.
I see so many people trying to force progress. It comes from the belief that if they could just find their passion and do what they love, they would be happy. But as I said in the beginning of this article: The key is to be happy first and then take action.
Let things take the time they take. It’s much easier that way.
Step 6: Find the Intersection
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have to find your own way.
You have to make the information you consume work for you.
You can’t follow someone else’s formula and expect success. Deep down you know that.
If you want to get paid to do what you love, you have to find the intersection.
The intersection simply means finding:
- What you’re excited about doing
- What you’re good at (or want to become good at)
- What people are willing to pay for
You’ll rarely be clear on any of these in the beginning, which is why starting is so important.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. You just have to follow your inner GPS. You have to take the next step and see where it leads.
Discovering how to get paid to do what you love is about experimentation. When you realize that no one can give you the magic formula, you start making progress, because you reclaim your inherent power. You assume responsibility for your life.
The journey to doing what you love is messy, chaotic, and uncertain. But then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Imagine a life that was perfectly organized and certain, where you knew everything that was coming. You would never have any challenges, and everything would be provided for you.
Sure, you’d love it for a day or two, but then it’d become boring.
The challenges we face are what add spice to our lives. They are what make life interesting. The problem does not lie in the challenges, but in how you relate to them.
So to get paid to do what you love, start throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Step 7: Recognize the Truth
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
If there’s anything I’ve learned while living an unconventional life, it’s that I don’t always know what I want, even when I think I do.
I don’t always know what life has in store for me.
I’ve realized that what I can imagine as my ideal life is often only the tip of the iceberg.
You see, you don’t have to know where you’re going in order to get to where you want to go.
You may want to read that again.
In order to do what you love, all you have to do is follow your inspiration when you’re in a positive state of mind.
“That’s easier said than done, Henri,” you might say.
Of course it’s easier said than done. If it weren’t, everyone would be living the life of their dreams. But the fact remains, there are people out there doing what they love, which means you can do it, too.
It requires that you make a few shifts on how you view life.
It requires that you start listening to how you want to live life and what you want, instead of looking outside of yourself for the answers.
You cannot be happy until you tap into your own happiness, joy, and passion.
You are the only person who can make you happy, and there’s only one thing you can trust in life.
The Big Takeaway
“Chase your passion, not your pension.” – Denis Waitley
The message I want to leave you with is that you can do what you love.
You found and read this article for a reason.
You resonate with what you’ve just read, which means you’ve already followed your excitement.
Now you just have to keep doing it. You will stumble. You will doubt yourself. It’s okay. It’s a part of the game.
People will tell you that you can’t do what you love. They’ll say that it’s “unrealistic.” But I’m here to tell you that you can.
I’m here to tell you that what’s unrealistic is living a life that doesn’t make your heart sing.
You don’t have to start big. You can start where you are with what you have.
Look at what you can do next and what you’re excited about, then do it. If it means taking your dog for a walk, then take your dog for a walk.
As you keep following your excitement and passion, it will build, and it will grow.
After a while, you’ll be riding on candy-covered rainbows on your new, shiny unicorn.
All the best,
P.S. If you’d like to dive deeper into doing what you love, I highly recommend you check out my book: Do What You Love: Essays on Uncovering Your Path in Life.