I am very fortunate in that my parents taught me to do what I love and success would follow. Things have a way of working out, the pieces falling into place often when you least expect it. This is how it happened with my career.
On the topic of professional success, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
What we love doing often has no connection with our career choice. We live in a culture that teaches us to orient ourselves to what will sell. We have learned to ignore what we love and turn ourselves into a commodity. Commodities can be bought and sold, and we fear that we can be bought and sold. We don’t feel that we have the luxury to see what it is we really want to be doing.
We forget one very central and essential factor: if we are doing what we love, we will probably do it exceedingly well.
If we focus on success, we will probably forget about living. If we focus on living and doing what we love, we have a good chance of being successful.
The thing I love to do most in the world is write, and it always has been for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would often sneak up to my sister’s room where, seated on the floor in front of her electric typewriter, I would set about “writing” stories long before I could actually read or write. I loved the feel of the keys beneath my fingers, the satisfying clack clack as I typed, and the whir of the machine as the paper chugged along. I literally couldn’t wait to learn to read. Written words were a secret world that I was at once surrounded by and dying to be a part of.
Though I knew my chances of making much money as a writer were slim, still my parents encouraged me to pursue it. As an undecided freshman in college, my counselor suggested I try my hand at a journalism class. Halfway through the semester, something clicked. I fell in love. It was everything I loved about writing with the bonus of providing a constant source of material completely independent of my own imagination (which I was concerned would dry up).
Upon graduating and finding myself nearly $30,000 in debt with no prospects of a job in my chosen field, I decided to switch gears and pursue a more traditional idea of success: a career in marketing. It pays the bills, and I still get to utilize my passion for writing every day. I do feel I am climbing up the wrong ladder though, and I often think about how this is just a stepping stone on my path of life. I do feel energized by my work, and more often than not, I love what I do. Nothing is perfect, of course.
I am so glad my parents taught me the importance of loving what you do. It saddens me to know so many people are forced into careers they don’t enjoy simply because they pay well or offer a certain level of prestige.