Money is powerful. Passion is invigorating. Creating a life that involves both in a healthy and fulfilling way seems to be the eternal quest for so many. It’s the holy grail. The pursuit of money is often correlated to the pursuit of happiness. Some argue they go together. Others argue they have nothing to do with each other.
Working for money may seem like enough motivation. But, is it? Money can be very motivating. It’s motivating because it can offer freedom, opportunities, and so much more. But, should you choose or take a job strictly for money? Should you choose a career path or industry strictly for the money?
People often pigeon-hole themselves into a career based on money or based on the mold that they feel they must fulfill. For instance, if you go to a top business school and study finance, you probably feel that you are expected to work in the finance industry under one of a few specific job titles. Those around you also assume your path. And, that’s completely fine if that’s truly what you want. But, what if you start questioning that in a few years? On any given day we can find an article on someone who leaves a high-paying gig to go live on an island and build seaweed bracelets.
The great thing about life is that we are in charge of our own choices. So, when it comes to our careers, this is no different. Here’s my tips on the money vs. passion struggle:
- What do you enjoy?
We often don’t even really know what we enjoy. The rat race of life can leave us in a state of emptiness where it seems like a nap is all we could really enjoy at the moment. Remove the clutter from your days and start to notice what comes to the surface. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Stop saying “yes” when every bone in your body is telling you to say “no.” Get back into the hobbies you once knew. Do something every single day that you enjoy. Plan one hour every single day of the week for you. Don’t do what you think you should do. Do what you want to to. It could be cooking, calling your BFF’s, yoga, writing, taking a bubble bath, painting, re-building an old car (wouldn’t be my choice, but to each their own). See what happens. I guarantee you over the course of a month you will find yourself reconnected with enjoyment. Make a list of 10 things you really enjoy. Give yourself 5 minutes max to do this. Look at it again in a month.
- What makes your skin crawl?
I’m a firm believer that knowing what you don’t like is way more important than knowing what you do like. When we don’t like something it’s easier to be black and white, which makes decisions easier. If you absolutely hate caviar, you won’t eat it. I personally hate those boba drinks that are still so trendy. I won’t take them even when offered for free at the nail salon. Nope. No way.
The same is true for your career. And I mean all aspects. If you despise an 8-5 in a cubicle, you need to take that into account. Is there a price point where you wouldn’t mind that lifestyle? On the flip side, if being home alone all day working remote sounds terrible, take that into account. No matter what it is, learn and embrace what you hate. There are so many options in life and with careers. Don’t be afraid if you happen to despise something that you think you have to deal with. Knowing these things about yourself is incredibly powerful. Make a list of what you cannot stand when it comes to your career. Don’t make it about people. Make it about things (red tape, traffic, mornings, meetings, reports, etc). Personally, I hate overhead lighting. It gives me headaches. Every office I’ve had I brought different lamps and left the overhead lights off. It sounds simple but it made time in the office better. Start little and work your way up.
- What material goals do you have?
Material goals are not bad. They are healthy! But, so often we don’t even know what ours really are. We might say what we would buy if we won the lottery or where our dream vacation is. But, articulating those goals is essential to your success and your career path. For example, is your dream home a 4 bedroom home in the suburbs or a 2 bedroom condo downtown? What is the next car that you want? Make, model, color, interior? Know the details. Know your goals. Know it’s ok to have them. Big or small, you can have them all. It’s up to you.
- What emotional goals do you have?
This is even more important than the material goals. What we need in order to be emotionally fulfilled should dictate our career. You may be making millions, but how do you feel? What if you’re in a role where you have to make unethical decisions? What if you’re in a role where you are belittled and have to play submissive role? What if you are in a role where you don’t get to use any of your skills or creative talents but you’re making big bucks? Is it fulfilling mentally? Emotionally?
You can’t put a price on sleeping well at night. Remove people and situations from your life that get in the way of that. When our emotional needs aren’t met, we turn to material items to fill the void. Shopping binges and more stuff won’t fix anything internal. Even the most luxurious vacation in the world won’t fix it. The fastest way to acquire self-confidence is by doing what you’re afraid of and by standing up for yourself. Doing both will keep you on track in both your personal and professional life. Know your worth.
- What’s innovative but also realistic?
You don’t have to invent frozen water (bad joke, yes), nor do you have to settle for a routine job in a field that bores you for 40 years. This is where grey area matters. There are so many ways to spin what we love into something we can do in a way that suits us. Whether it’s on-ground, online or both, options abound. The only limits are the ones you put on yourself.
Here’s some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
When it comes to the money versus passion struggle in your life, embrace it. It’s an ongoing process. You will continue to evolve and things will continue to fall into place. Be open and know yourself.
They say if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. I disagree. You will work. You’ll work harder. You’ll be better for it. And so will those around you. Who doesn’t love to be around someone who loves waking up in the morning to do what energizes and inspires them?
What are your thoughts and advice on money vs passion? Comment below!