We are the choices we make – Patrick Ness
Have you said these things?
“I’m passionate about _________ (fill in the blank) but I can’t make a living from it.”
“I wanted to be a ____________ but I don’t have enough experience/the right credentials/the right connections to make that happen.”
“If only________, then I’d be really doing important work.”
If so, you’re not alone. Many people I work with are deeply passionate about making a difference in the world, but feel stuck in some way from living that out. They want to make a difference, but also clearly – and who doesn’t? – need to make a living.
But what if you didn’t have to choose – what if it were possible to both live a life of purpose and meaning, and still eat?
If you find yourself pondering this as well, try one or more of these suggestions:
1) Get clarity about what matters to you. You’re more likely to get what you want if you know what it is. Think about what you really want to accomplish with your work: why do you want to do what you want to do? What’s important about it? Why does it matter to you? (Download my Road Map tool if you aren’t sure how to answer these questions).
2) Focus on how you can learn more, grow more and be of more service right now. Not someday, but now. I believe it is a central quality of humans to want to learn and grow. What do you want to learn more about? How can you be more of service right now?
3) Give it away. Your paid work may not be how you make your greatest difference. I have a friend whose gift is creating community. She works a regular day job to pay her bills, and uses that income to create amazing welcoming events in her home for her friends. Volunteering extra time and talents to worthy organizations or causes that matter to you (see #1) can also help feed a sense of fulfillment and meaning, as well as help you make connections to new people, organizations and ideas.
4) Think outside the box. Your career path is your own, no matter what else you’ve heard. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. What unconventional organization or project might need your talents and skills?
5) Don’t give up, and don’t do it alone. Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa didn’t change the world in a day, and they didn’t do it alone. Find like minded people who care about the same issues you do. Ask someone who is successful in your field for their advice via an informational interviewing process. Ask someone who has your ideal job to mentor you. Or create a virtual board of directors for yourself.
6) Be brave and get going. The world needs you and what you care about now more than ever. It’s time for you to step out and do what can only be done uniquely by you.
In the comments below, I really want to hear from you! Let me know:
1) Which one of the ideas above will you try, and why?
2) How else do you balance doing good and doing well?
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