I’ve been pretty fond of books and particularly empowering quotes for as long as i can remember, but one that stands out is an Alan Watts quote when i was around 16 years old. At that time, like most i had absolutely no idea what i wanted to do, and the focus when deciding was very much centred around making money. My aspirations were aligned with the cultural narrative played out by so many; get a good job that pays well, buy a house, start a family, etc. The problem was, i found school difficult, and i simply didn’t see the logic in spending vast amounts of time doing something i didn’t enjoy simply for the purpose of living.
The Alan Watts quote in question was about realising that work is in fact play, and that by doing what you love and forgetting about the money, happiness would come more easily. If i look back at the businesses i’ve started, the decisions that have led me to the ones i’ve enjoyed most have been based on 3 questions. What am i good at? What assets do i have? And what am i passionate about? This has ranged from being a good communicator with bundles of time who cares about football becoming a football coach, to being a creative socialite with a good network of friends who loves partying becoming a nightclub promoter. Understanding that our interests, skill sets and assets change over time as we grow is as liberating as it is useful, and removes the capacity for us to feel stuck in the same job.
This equation doesn’t necessarily mean that upon completion you’re going to end up with your dream job, but it does at least cause us to question what we’d most like to spend our time doing, without thinking about money as the outcome. Using our skill sets instills confidence and brings out the best in us. Making the best use of our assets, whatever they are, is recognising and leveraging what we have to offer. Working on something we’re passionate about gives us purposefulness and joy, causing us to work harder. When we work harder, we often become better, and by becoming better, inherently we are likely paid more as a result. I’ve done this subconsciously in the past, but more recently consciously in my side project, being a professional preachy vegan!
I became really passionate about veganism (as most vegans do) when i further investigated looked the devastating extent of the damage caused by animal agriculture, both ethically and environmentally. I recognised that one of the assets i have is large network, both on social media and in person, through which i could perhaps influence more people to take notice. My skill sets are communications, both written and verbal, so i decided to use this triangular approach to setup a new project. I now speak about Veganism at public events, and also within businesses to help them understand the emerging vegan market. Alongside this, i’m working with brands to adapt their offering to suit vegan consumers and helping vegan brands reach more people via social media. I can honestly say i find what i do fulfilling, enjoyable and challenging.
Although our passions, skills & assets change over time, our basic human desires to feel wanted, happy and purposeful do not, and this is particularly important within a job, as its where we spend a large portion of our lives. For many, it is our identity. I appreciate this is easier when you're younger and free of responsibility, but its not exclusively available to the young. There's many an example through history of those who've achieved amazing things later in life, and these people serve as useful reminders that we can pivot when we consciously look at what we care about, what we're good at and what we can offer.
If money were no object, and everyone received the same wage, how would you spend your time? If you answered the 3 questions, which jobs or businesses could be at the intersection? Work in your passion, using your skills and leveraging whatever you have, and happiness comes with it.