Can You Really Make a Living Doing What You Love?

In my last post, I posed the question, “Do you really need passion and purpose?”

I think the answer is clearly “no,” you don't need them. Most of the people in the world don't live with passion and purpose. But I can personally attest to the fact that passion and purpose make life infinitely better.

You feel happier and more enthusiastic about life.

You have an overall sense of fulfillment and meaning.

You feel you are living more authentically.

You don't focus on the negative as much because you are having so much fun.

You don't need as much to entertain or distract you because you are creatively engaged in life.

And least this is what I've found, and I'm willing most people who live with passion and purpose feel the same.

The practical and realistic among you might say, “Passion and purpose are great, but I've got to make a living. I've got mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay.” Believe me, I get it. Living passionately loses its luster when when you can't pay the bills.

Many people feel stuck in their current situations because they don't see way out. They don't see a way to make passion and purpose pay — or at least pay in the way they've grown accustomed to. It feels way too risky.

Plus, there are many other thoughts, fears, and attachments that lurk around the notion of making a living doing what you love. Do you recognize any of these?

  • What if I'm not as passionate about my passion as I thought I was?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if people think I'm crazy and reject me?
  • What if I make my family unhappy?
  • What if I have to give up my current lifestyle?
  • What if passion and purpose are just wacky concepts that have no real life application?
  • What if I pick the wrong passion?
  • What if I have to go back to school or get more training?

These are all valid questions, and anyone thinking about recreating their life to make a living doing what they love needs to do a lot of self-reflection and decision-making before they begin on this new path.

But the amazing thing about passion and purpose is that they tend to pave the way for you. When you feel passionate about something, and when that passion gives you a sense of purpose, you can make things happen in a way you never thought possible.You just need to pull one thread to unwind a whole lot of knots.

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” ~Earl Nightingale

The bigger question related to designing your life around your passion is this: “What parts of my current life does passion trump?”

Does living a life of purpose and passion trump . . .

  • your current salary;
  • your current lifestyle;
  • where you live;
  • how you are perceived by others;
  • your spouse or partner's wishes;
  • your children's wishes;
  • your parent's wishes;
  • your material things;
  • how you spend your time?

For me, at this stage of my life, making a living doing what I love trumps just about all of these things. That doesn't mean there aren't adjustments I can make to accommodate people I love, or that I've had to change everything.

But it means I've chosen to give up some things so I can live differently. And because I live differently, some of the other things don't matter as much.

For me, doing what I love means . . .

Doing work that is purposeful, interesting, and creative.

Spending quality time with family and friends.

Having great experiences (travel, theater, eating out, etc.)

Having time for exercise, reflection, time in nature, relaxing.

Having a comfortable and easy to manage home.

Having a lot of flexibility in my work and life.

Making enough money so that I can do the above.

I am no longer focused on . . .

A prestigious career.

Making money just to make money.

Having a lot of fancy material things.

Worrying what others think of me.

Impressing others.

Having the “right” home, car, clothes, or gadgets.

Preparing for Passion and Purpose

Two great things I have discovered (which I so wish I'd learned earlier in life) are:

1) If you are doing what you love, work feels like play, and it's hard to tear yourself away from it;

and

2) There are a limited number of hours for enjoyment in a given day or week. I have to prioritize my desires and wants. I have to narrow those down to the top five. These top 5 priorities are where I need to be spending the vast majority of my time.

As I said, for me it's relationships, meaningful work, great experiences, time for fun and relaxation, and a comfortable home. (In fact, my current suburban home is more than I need, but I've chosen to live here a while longer until my kids graduate from high school.)

So that brings us back to the question, “Can you really make a living doing what you love?”

Yes, you can.

But you have to decide the right timing, the right balance, the right priorities for you.

Before you even begin working toward making a living at your passion, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my top five life priorities?
  • What does living a life of passion and purpose trump over other areas of my life?
  • Would I be willing to live leaner if necessary?
  • Would I be willing to move if necessary?
  • Would I be willing to go back to school if necessary?
  • Would I be willing to upset some people?
  • Would I be willing to save money to prepare for my life change?
  • Would I be willing to experiment to find the best fit for my passion?
  • Could I create a back-up plan?
  • What is the worst case scenario? Could I survive that?

Once you have defined your passion or passions, and you know what your priorities are, then getting to the life of your dreams is a matter of some creative thinking and taking regular, specific action steps to get you there.

That's what I'll discuss in my next post.

Are you thinking about making a living doing what you love and following your passion? Please tell us more in the comments.

If you don't know what you feel passionate about, check this out:

10 Reasons Why You Need to Discover Your Passion.

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Comments

  1. Nice post Barrie!

    Loved the title of the post, and this is exactly something I am trying to do now. Yes, life is strange with its twists and turns, and not everyone can really make a living doing what they want or feel like doing. But, if you can somehow manage to make what you love doing your passion, your work, and earn a living through it- nothing like it.

    I loved the tips you shared about how to make a plan and prioritize what you want or like to do, and that’s surely going to help a great deal.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Harleena,
      It looks like you are already doing what you love!I hope so. Prioritizing is key. There are some things you have to let go in order to thoroughly soak yourself in your passion. But generally you forget about those things once you are focused on doing what you love.

  2. I think that we don’t need to follow our passions to be happy. At the same time, I can hear my old self sighing with relief. He was scared by the bare idea of having to follow his passions. He was coward and inventing a long series of excuses not to follow his passions. He put himself in a cage of social conventions and false duties, while life was outside the cage to be grasped. A day I asked myself if the comfort of the cage was better than the risk of courage. I got to the conclusion that life without courage is like you never started living.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Well, you said it all Emmanuel. Life inside of the cage can be pleasant but boring. Eventually your soul screams to be released. And that is when courage beckons you. I hope that it has led you out of the cage. 🙂

  3. I’m determined to make a living doing what I love…but I never considered those questions at the end, or exactly how important this dream is to me (what does it trump?). I’m definitely gonna take some time to mull these over… Thanks for making me think! I’m really looking forward to your next post; we’ll see if I’m on the right track.

    Peace!
    K

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Asking the right questions can be so powerful Kaylee. I love that you are determined. I love the word “intend.” It suggests that it is a done deal. I intend to do what I love. So the outcome is predetermined, and now you only have to fill in the blanks of how to get there. 🙂

  4. Am I just lucky No I don’t think so, figured what I like and did it. Did I struggle you bet. But the perks were and still are worth. Helping others should be a way of life for us all. To many think the one with the most stuff wins NOPE they are the losers. Although its tough with all the hype and media pushing us and all around us. I wanted to be a rock star so I did it. I wanted a family so it happen I did not search for either they just happened. When my work started making me a very unhappy man I found what I loved and liked more and put those to work. And it pays. Am I rich yes. Do I have tons of cash no. Do I have the stuff I like Yep. Do I want better stuff Yep. But to have the better stuff I need to share and help others. My work helps others everyday and they pay me for it and are very happy to do it. Now don’t get me wrong I do struggle and it is hard but only as hard as I let it. So it can be a struggle or just I need to share a little more and help a few more.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Michael,
      You’ve got the key: service, balance, the right attitude, focus. You can’t have everything, but you can have enough of the good things to make your life amazing.

  5. Doctor Cris says:

    Yes, you can live your passion—I am. Many people, especially as you get older, find that you need more fulfilling work or time to enjoy what you love. This makes you put on the brakes and begin to reflect on how you have been living your life. Many get up in the morning, unenthusiastic about the day. To me, that is no way to live—so taking the time to weave your passions into your life is the most greatest thing you can do for yourself.

    I love the questions you posed to help people identify their priorities. It is not all or nothing—you can take small calculated steps towards achieving a life of passion. It is the best thing you can do in your life.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Yes, small calculated steps. That’s a great way to say it Cris. And when you are taking steps toward something you love, the steps are so much fun. You can be passionate about working toward your passion!

  6. For me, the following is the crux of the matter here:
    “But the amazing thing about passion and purpose is that they tend to pave the way for you.” YES, they do! Even explaining to those we upset by our change of direction in following that passion becomes so much easier when the passion shines through convincingly. My son did that with me when sharing how he and his new wife wanted to live and work in another country on the opposite side of the globe for a time. Now, afterwards (several years have passed!), he and my darling daughter-in-law and granddaughter (with dual citizenship and two languages!) and little toddler grandson are so full of treasures to share in the very cosmopolitan U.S. citizen they have returned to! His passion when telling me, seconded by his new wife, was so radiant that all I could do was rejoice with him. Others (including my children and in-laws) are now happy with me for following my writing passion!

    • How exciting for your son! And what a blessing for him that you are so supportive and excited for him. I know what you mean about the passion for writing. That passion has paved the way for so many amazing things for me, and I hope for you too Rose!

  7. This is wonderful. Yes you can do what you love and make a lot of money. It is true in my life and I know that it inspires others to do the same. Very well done post.

  8. I’m in the midst of changing my life, and readjusting my priorities so I CAN make money doing what I love. Thankfully, I already work in “my dream career field” with my dream job. I’m on the right path, and enjoying life so much more now. However, I found one of the biggest things holding me back is carrying too much debt. I love to travel, to see friends/family and go on adventures. But I can’t do that very well when I’m carrying this huge “debt” weight on my shoulders.

    Within the next 3 months, I’ll be completely debt free! This will give me the freedom to pursue other passions, or move to a new city, because most of the doubts and fears about financial security will be gone. I’m really excited about using money to serve a better purpose, and to give to others.

  9. You can surely make money from your passion depends on how you wish to monetize it.

    Sheyi