It takes a lot of courage–and no small amount of self-examination–to determine what it really is that we, as individuals, want to do for a living. We have to set aside economic considerations (not easy and often seemingly impossible).
Sometimes, we have to set aside our parents’ hopes and dreams for our careers, what they want us to be. We may have to park our desire for material comforts at the curb and walk up to the front door of a career or profession that appears to have limited financial rewards, if any. (Think of all the writers you know, including this one. Wink, nod.)
The distractions and rationalizations can be numerous. But the questions are self-evident and undeniable: what is it that I love to do? What is that, when I do it, time stands still and time flies–all at the same time? What am I naturally good at? What is my gift? How can I be of service?
Some OMG’s (Old Money Guys and Old Money Gals) are park rangers in a national forest. Some are investment bankers at Grandfather’s firm. Some are making a lot of money and some are not. But one thing you’ll find with many is that they’re doing a job they love and giving it all they’ve got.
Why? Because no amount of money will compensate for getting up every morning and going to work at a job you hate. You will hate your life, not just your job. You will be susceptible to wasting money, substance abuse, and health problems.
You may say to yourself, “I’m going to do this job for this amount of time, until I save up this amount of money. Then I’m going to quit and do what I really love.” That’s a plan. But ask yourself, “Am I saving that amount of money each payday?” “Am I learning about the job I say I really want?” “If I had a windfall tomorrow and didn’t have to work, would I be ready to transition to my dream career?”
Here’s a better plan. If you’re not in a position financially to toss it all and do what you love first thing in the morning, take steps. Do the job you have to do right now, do it well, and take on your dream job as a hobby. Do it on weekends. Who cares if you make money at it? Just get started. No pressure, just extra joy. Doing what you love.
Getting started will do two things: it will give you feedback and present questions. Do I really love this as much as I thought I would? Can I really make a living at this? What am I going to need to make a living at it? Only you can answer these. And the honesty with which you do will determine your chances for success and happiness. Second, it will offer you a glimpse at what your life can be, and that can be inspiring and awesome. Clue: if you are energized and joyful after doing your thing, you have found your thing to do in life.
Develop your skills and resources with what starts out to be a hobby, and take the next step: assess the possibility of building that into a second income. This will give you deeper insights into the viability of realizing your dream job or vocation. Is this my dream job? Or is this just a hobby? Will I have the life I want if I have the job I think I want? What changes need to happen between this being a hobby and this being a way to make a living?
If you make additional money from this new venture, reinvest the income you make from your passion back into your dream business if you need to. If you can bank that cash, by all means do so.
The goal is financial independence achieved by doing the thing you love to do. When you get that, you will see why so many Old Money people don’t really care what car they drive or give much thought to the clothes they wear: they don’t really care, because every morning they’re waking up and excited about going to work, doing their thing, being of service.
And that’s a luxury money can’t buy.