By Amy Rasdal
If Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow had been a Katy Perry song instead of a book, it would have been the anthem of the late 80s and early 90s. This advice didn’t stop there. On June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, delivered the commencement address at Stanford. Perhaps the most memorable quote from his address is:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” –Steve Jobs
Debunking the Myth
Let’s debunk this myth here and now. I love my family, I love to dance and I love ice cream. I don’t love my work. I work because I need the money and If I didn’t, I would be doing something different. Don’t get me wrong. I really like my work. I like it a lot. And there are times when I am passionate about it. There are times when I am so excited by my work that I stay up all night doing it. But not all the time. And it is not my singular passion.
This decree that your career must satisfy your deepest passion makes some of us feel like we are not reaching our full potential. It turns a wonderful career into something we settled for. I don’t buy it. In fact, I’m not having it. Here’s the thing, the money might not follow.
Preserving the Realm of Pure Joy
I always loved music and became increasingly passionate about playing the clarinet as I approached high school graduation. I was good at it. I struggled with whether or not to choose music as my college major and career. I had always wanted to take piano lessons, but since my parents were already paying for clarinet lessons, they were not open to adding another instrument. Finally, during my senior year of high school, I had a good enough job that I could pay for the lessons myself. I shared my college major dilemma with my piano teacher and I will never forget what she said, “Amy, my husband is a junior high band director and I am a piano teacher. We have three children. I have to teach 40 students a week in order to make ends meet and save money for college. Very few of my students are as motivated as you. Many of them don’t want to be here. My love of music has become a drudgery.”
If you turn your passion into your work, you risk losing the joy.
I started dancing in college and still dance today. I can take a 90 minute dance class and come away feeling as if I spent a week in Hawaii. It’s a complete escape from the rest of my life and I leave walking on air. Because it is not my career, I have never taken a dance class because I had to or because I thought I should. Keeping my passion separate allows me to preserve that realm of pure joy.
Create a Career that Allows You the Money and Flexibility to Pursue Your Passion
I knew from a young age that flexibility to work when and where I wanted would be important to me. My original concept was living in Aspen, skiing all day, and working at night doing computer programming.
I ended up majoring in both music and computer science in college. I won a music scholarship that paid a good portion of my undergrad education so it was win/win. I worked as a software engineer for a few years and then went to business school. After business school, I worked corporate jobs for several years. Once or twice a week, I would set up my work space as if I were at a meeting, when, in reality, I had snuck away to a dance class. Eventually, I started working start-ups where I had more flexibility to take dance class during the day although it meant working later at night.
Once I had enough experience under my belt, I started my own consulting business. I traded my corporate job for consulting and make more money than most executives. I have been an independent consultant for 15 years and I love it! The advantages are freedom, flexibility, control, interesting work and good pay. I live a blended life with hardly any boundaries. I work and play every day. I typically work half my work day during the day and the other half at night. I take several professional level dance classes a week and water-ski every other Friday morning. Although I love to cook, these days we mostly live on raw fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and frozen burritos. I’m quick on the mute button and I can tell you a foolproof way to do a professional conference call from Disneyland.
No More Monday Morning Blues
The back cover of Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow promises “NO MORE MONDAY MORNING BLUES.” If you are intentional about creating a life that allows your career and your passions to co-exist, you too can eliminate those dreaded Monday morning blues. Get off the fence and rock your life!
I say, you don’t have to make your passion your paycheck. And I’m living proof.
Amy Rasdal is a working Mom of two kids, ages 13 and 3. She has been a successful consultant for 15 years and loves it! Now she is helping Billable with Baby® which encourages you to take control of your career and have the flexibility to raise your children on your terms. Stay home with your baby AND earn executive level pay doing the same type of work you’ve always done.
If you’re curious, a drill down of these steps is available at 3 Action Steps to Generate revenue NOW!
I chose to publish this post because so many experts talk about making your passion your paycheck. But there is an element of truth today – after a while, the passion can wane when it becomes your JOB, and it can become simply a means to an end over time. Can you relate to this concept of keeping your passions and your career totally separate? I think it’s a great conversation to have…
Happy Motivation Monday!