If you do what you love, will money follow?

One of the advice you hear often and I listed on my last post is: Do what you love and money will follow.   Is this good advice?  Tony Robbins definitely thinks so.  Just last December on Larry King live, Tony gave this exact advice, by telling the story about  Katherine Joosten from “Desperate Housewives” did what she loved (acting) for 25 years and got 2 Emmys recently.

I am sure everyone of you can tell me a story they heard where something like this happened.  I mean, just look at JackAss, the show, another great example of a bunch of guys doing what they love and making quite a lot.  Wouldn’t it be great if we can all do that?  There are also plenty of skeptics about this advice.  The mom on this blog rank this as one of the three worse advice she has ever gotten.

What do I think?  Well, I think this is great advice for maybe 5% of the population and does not really work for the rest of us 95%.  Why? because the only people who can follow this advice well are those who know what they love to do.  And I think at least 95% of us in the work force don’t know what we love.

So what’s my definition of “do what you love”?

  1. It’s something you love doing today, tomorrow, in 5 years, and in 30 years – it will not change
  2. You would do it for free and feel happy doing it at 5am in the morning on a Saturday
  3. You will keep going forward, learn more, and make progress even if there are huge barriers.

I don’t know about you, but by this definition, I am definitely in the 95% and don’t know what I love.   When I was in college, I remember thinking why does everyone else know what they want to do and I am the only one who don’t.  I ended up applying to 5 different  industries and jobs because I had no idea.  After 13 years in the business world, I realized that I assumed wrong.  I only met a handful of people who truly love what they do while many others are just good at what they do but do not love it.  We therefore make decision about their career based on what they do well and what the market values.  One is not better than the other.  They are just different.   I know what I like and don’t like to do and I know what I am good at doing.   Therefore, I will choose career advice that I can follow instead of this one.

My husband on the other hand, I think is in that rare 5% who knows what he loves.  10 years ago, he wanted to be part of the Internet and he didn’t even know how to turn on a computer.  He ended up finding a classmate who he knows is a computer whiz and showed up every morning at his work for 3 months until that person agreed to teach him about the Internet, online retail, etc.  He probably didn’t earn any money that first year.   Today, he still works in online marketing and he is singularly passionate about understanding how to excel in this arena.  He is the one that will spend hours early morning any day reading up on it even if it’s a Sat or Sunday and is always talking about it excitedly.  Is money following him?  some.  He is successful but he has a big vision and he is only 10 years into his plan. Who knows where he will be in another 20 years?  but I know he will still be doing online marketing.

What is the moral of this story?  Know thyself!  Invest time to understand yourself – are you in the 5% or the 95%? The more you know about yourself, the more you can figure out which career advice are good and appropriate for you!  Good luck out there.

– Lei

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