“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This quote gets attributed to various people, but is it healthy advice? Psychologists are beginning to wonder. Many people entering the workforce now have unrealistic expectations that following their passion guarantees boundless enthusiasm, deep fulfillment and, of course, financial success. If only that were true!
The truth is that realizing your dreams takes a lot of hard work, and that work isn’t always fun or even fulfilling in the short term. And depending on how “niche” your interest is, you may have trouble finding enough people who share your passion to make it into a viable business.
That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to slogging away in a job you hate, though! The secret is to start with the things you love and find ways to let those passions shape and infuse whatever you choose to do in life.
What I Love
For example, as a teenager, I loved sports. I studied Tae Kwon Do, Kundalini and Hatha Yoga; and I practically lived at the basketball courts. None of these passions turned into a career for me (at least yet), but they taught me self-discipline and the importance of individual effort to a team’s success. Those lessons shaped the philosophy of leadership I’ve modeled and worked to instill in those I’ve mentored. I also wanted to help other children and young adults have that same experience, so I’ve been an active supporter of and leader in youth sports programs over the years.
After college, I discovered Anthony Robbins. His work gave me a greater understanding of human nature, leading me to a life-long study of philosophy, psychology and management theory. Along with other writers and speakers, it also fueled my passion for entrepreneurship. I had several pretty spectacular failures before Arleen and I founded ILSA, but I learned a lot from each venture – and I developed an emotional and psychological resilience that’s stood me in great stead. From the earliest days at ILSA, I wanted to give others that same opportunity by creating a personal development program that’s available to every single employee at our company. This same commitment to lifelong learning and sharing hard-won wisdom is at the heart of our Spot On Insurance podcast series and community.
Your passion doesn’t have to be an outside interest, though. Arleen and I both love meeting new people. In fact, our employees tease us that if you dropped us anywhere in the world, by nightfall we’d have a dinner invitation, a new workout buddy, and an appointment with whoever passes for an insurance commissioner locally. Making friends makes us happy! That’s informed our choice of careers in the insurance and communications industries, our approach to choosing our teams and building our businesses, and our desire to create a genuine community of insurance professionals through our Spot On Insurance podcasts.
Life is short. No matter what it is that motivates and inspires you, there’s a way to incorporate it into your life – you just need to get a little creative sometimes. Lead with what you love, and the happiness and success you seek will follow.