When you stop chasing the wrong things,
you give the right things a chance to catch you.
How do we know what dream will best suit us as a career?
I feel it’s imperative that we discern between what dreams will make great careers and which will make for enjoyable hobbies.
It took me a long time to figure this one out. For years I pursued what I loved. Because that’s what we’re taught right? Just do what you love. And my parents were living proof that it works. As professional ballet dancers they could not do what they did without a great amount of love. So naturally I followed suit and began following my passion. Well, after years of pursuing acting in LA to no avail, I became disheartened and confused. I thought I was doing the right thing by following my heart so why wasn’t it working?
At this point, I set off on my threadbare journey to find purpose in my life. I traveled the world and dabbled in other interests. Social work, horse training, teaching. But it wasn’t until I read Penelope Trunk’s blogs, How To Find A Job You’ll Love and Bad Career Advice: Do What You Love, that things really clicked for me. She lends the advice, don’t do what you love. Do what you enjoy learning instead.
When we say, “what do you do?” we really mean “what do you learn?” Because that’s what makes a person interesting – what they are learning. No one wants to answer the question what do you do if they have a job where they are not learning. That’s how you know it’s the learning that matters.
I think dreams get a bad rap because a lot of people try the first thing on their list and when it doesn’t work out they think they have to settle for a desk job that ultimately makes them wanna gouge their eye out with a hot poker. I know because I’ve been there. But really it’s as simple as changing the verbiage from love to learn.
Not all dreams are equal. Some are careers and some are hobbies and that’s okay. We all want to “live our dream.” Yet, when we use the “What do I love to learn?” as a litmus test, our paths suddenly come into better focus. We waste less time trying to make hobbies into careers and treating viable careers as hobbies.
And the irony here is when you do what you enjoy learning, you will end up loving what you do.
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