Sometimes when I ask my students "If money weren't an issue, what would you do with your time?" they answer that they don't know... or they say they would sit on a beach all day. For most, that is the most they ever think about such a question, so their responses are understandable even though after a time even sitting on a beach all day would lose its charm.
What I want them to really consider is if they didn't have to make a living and support their family, what would they want to do with the rest of their lives? Is there anything they are doing right now that absorbs their attention to the point that they lose track of time and forget to eat, for instance?
We all have the potential to feel engaged and excited about something and it is my belief that we are happiest when we are devoting a good bit of our time doing just that. I know you can even make a living and support your family while doing it, too! It is EXACTLY what I do!
I certainly am not saying that you should quit your day job right this moment, but you absolutely can lay the groundwork to make that a feasible option sooner rather than later. In other words, actually plan out your future and do something now to bring you one step closer to achieving that.
So first things first..., do you know what you're passionate about? If you don't, I'll ask you to be a bit of a time-traveling detective. What did you love doing between the ages of 9-11? Studies show that your childhood interests and talents hold clues to what would give your life its greatest sense of meaning and satisfaction today. (I don’t remember coaching and training or speaking on a stage back then... however I was always interested in talking to everyone and loved to tell stories of people around me.)
If you can't remember, what ambitions did you set aside when you were younger because "you couldn't make a living doing that"? What chance meetings stand out for you? What are some of the things that others have said about you that have stuck with you over the years?
Now imagine yourself saying "I feel excited (or strong, or purposeful) when I am…" Remember you are talking about something you are doing, not something that is happening to you.
There really are so many possibilities for finding meaningful, satisfying and lucrative work, but we often don't see them. We have been conditioned to believe that life is made up of doing a lot of things we don't want to do, and working for money is chief among them. So now decide that you want to do that thing... and stop worrying about if it is practical.
I recently read Gary Vaynerchuk's book "Crush It!". He has an interesting test for determining if you can "monetize" your passion. It consists of one question: Can you think of at least fifty blog topics that you're excited to write about it? He feels that number of posts is the minimum you'll need to give yourself enough time to get a feel for the situation.
He goes on to say that when you have identified your true passion, you'll find five hundred things to say about it. And people will want to hear – and pay to hear – what you have to say about it.
He contends that when you are doing what you truly love, even the smallest niche (he points to a woman who blogs about knitting and sells hand-dyed yarn) can sustain a nice forty-to-seventy-five thousand dollar-a-year business. Since that is what most of you make at your can't-wait-till-Friday jobs, it sounds like a good deal to me!
Napoleon Hill, who wrote the classic Think and Grow Rich, offered a great series of steps to help you achieve your dreams:
1. Have a definite purpose, backed by a definite desire.
2. Create a definite plan expressed by definite action.
3. If you experience any negative or discouraging messages from others, try to understand that your desire is creating some discomfort for them – probably because they wish they were acting as boldly on their desires – and do not take it personally.
4. Have a friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage you to follow through with both plan and purpose.
How about you? What is your Purpose? Have you laid out the plan to get there? Are you implementing the actions daily? Do these steps so you can actually find out “what you will do WHEN money is no longer an issue for you?”