When it comes to careers, there are four types of people I run into:
Those who are unemployed and seeking employment
Those who are employed but hate their job
Those who are employed but unenthusiastic about their job
- Those who LOVE their job and can't wait to start work every day (this is probably less than 10% of people)
If you're a number 4 type of person, congratulations! You've figured out something that very few people do.
If you're any of the other types, you need to read the rest of this blog. It just might be the most important thing you read all day. Let's go!
Whenever I happen to meet someone who is seeking career advice, I always start by asking them the first question:
1. If you could do anything you wanted all day long, and you didn't have to think about money, a degree, or your future, what would you do? What is your passion?
I've heard all kinds of responses. Everything from gardening to playing guitar to "doing nails." (I thought she was referring to carpentry, but she meant fingernails. Shows how much I think about fingernail maintenance. Ha!)
The point is, what you like to do might be something odd. It might be something that not a lot of people around you really value all that much. But here is the good news⎯we live in an eBay world.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
I know we've been in a down economy for a few years now, which means there aren't necessarily a lot of jobs out there. But what IS out there is a lot of work. There is lots of work to be done. Listen, 20 years ago, if you happened to find a wing nut for a '57 Chevy in your garage, you probably just would have tossed it aside. After all, you might not have any use for it, and how are you going to find somebody who does? They would have to have pretty specialized interests to need a wing nut for a '57 Chevy.
Fast forward to today. We live in an eBay world. There might not be anyone in your town who needs a wing nut for a '57 Chevy, but I guarantee someone on eBay does. And if it's a rare part that's particularly hard to find, they might even be willing to pay thousands of dollars for it. The Internet has opened up doors for entrepreneurs that never existed before. So remember, the fact that you don't know anyone around you who would be willing to pay for the skill you possess does not mean there aren't hundreds, maybe thousands, out there who would.
Now, I know you're excited, but the next two questions to ask yourself are critical to success, so stay with me!
2. What value does your passion have for other people?
Value is what separates a hobby from a career. If your passion is gardening, you have to ask yourself how your passion for gardening can translate to value for others. Going with this same example, if you know someone who loves having a garden and looking at a garden and showing off a garden, but knows nothing about actual gardening, obviously your knowledge and expertise would be of tremendous value to them.
So always always always remember to ask yourself what value your passion could have for others. And don't sell yourself short. If you have a passion for something, no matter how obscure, there is almost always someone out there who could benefit from it.
3. How can you prove that your passion can add value for someone?
Here's the real key. Here's where you have to learn a little sales, even if it makes you uncomfortable. How can you prove your value? Here's the biggest thing⎯start doing.
If your passion is gardening, don't wait for someone to say, "Here, I'll pay you $1,000 dollars to dig my garden." Instead…just start gardening! Maybe you work on your own garden for a little while, or you offer to help your mother-in-law or a neighbor with theirs. If you do an outstanding job, trust me, the money will soon follow.
"Actions speak louder than words" is a cliché for a reason. Don't wait. Just do.
So what is YOUR passion? Have any of you already been successful in making your passion your career? I would love to hear your story!
We have a great new commenting system that our web guys installed! Now, it'll be a lot easier for us all to talk and interact with one another. Can't wait for y'all to get the conversation going…this will be fun!