Finding work to love

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” ~Steve Jobs

I’ve been reading every entrepreneurial book I could find at the library the last few days to help me clarify my ideas about what I want to do to work for myself and determine what kinds of steps I need to take to get from here to there.

I read one book by an author who is a proponent of automating as much of one’s work as possible in order to avoid working more than just a few hours a week while still bringing in lots of money to allow him to play all over the world. As good as that may sound, that approach doesn’t appeal to me. First, I am a homebody who really doesn’t like travel to begin with! But even more than that, it’s not that I don’t want to work, it’s that I want the kind of work that Steve Jobs describes above—work that I love doing, that is rewarding and life enhancing, work that fulfills me and allows me to live to my highest potential.

Other authors have focused on building companies with employees and buildings. Again, this doesn’t appeal to me. The more I read, the more I become certain that I want to work for me as my only employee. Now, I will likely subcontract some work (like the tax accounting) that I am not an expert at, but the idea of having traditional employees just doesn’t attract me.

One book claimed that any good business idea MUST have the potential of creating an income of at least $5 million/year by the fifth year before it was worth considering. Five million a year? Really? Assuming I’m not going to be selling something that has absolutely enormous overhead, what would I do with that much money? I would like to live comfortably, but 1-2% of that as income would be adequate for that.

These are at least helping me narrow down the things I don’t want to help me zero in on what options might work. I know I don’t want employees. I don’t need (or even really want) an enormous income. I want to work from home. I prefer to work mostly by myself or one-on-one with others, although giving seminars or leading workshops on occasion would be fun too. I want it to include a variety of tasks so I don’t get bored. It must include continual learning. I want the freedom to set my own schedule, work at my own pace, and use my creativity. And it MUST be work that I absolutely love to do.

The trick is crafting something that meets all of those requirements, including adequate (and reasonably steady) income potential. I know that whatever I wind up doing will need to include writing; my need to write is too great to not make that a part of the plan. I do know that whatever I write needs to be work that inspires others and encourages them to live their dreams.

In fact, that is really the key to whatever I wind up doing: my greatest passion is inspiring, encouraging, and supporting others to live the authentic life they are meant to live. I would love doing that in a blend of one-on-one coaching/counseling, writing, and seminars/workshops. The challenging part is determining the exact  niche that I could fill with this work. I would prefer to work with women, I think. Do I focus on women going through times of transformation? Do I focus on women struggling to define (or re-define) their spirituality? Do I focus on women who are looking for greater wholeness or wellness? There must be a way to tie my many interests together in a way that gives me a large enough market to be successful but a sufficiently targeted market to define a clear niche. Clearly more research and thought is needed, but I do feel like I am at least beginning to make some progress.

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