The elephant in the room

Jul 1st, 2012No Comments

How to decide what to do next?

There has been some discussion recently on the LinkedIn group about not following the money but following what you love; then the indication is all will be well success will find you as you enjoy doing what you love.
Nice idea, but not as simple as it sounds.

Experience tells me that the greatest success measured financially and intellectually, are the ideas that are a mixture.

Let’s break that down.

It is true to say that if you really enjoy something and find it interesting then chances are you will work harder at it (after all you are spending time on a subject you love) and that you will show the dogged determination that success often requires.

However, it still needs to have a market, a need, a glint of interest to others. Otherwise how will you earn enough to keep on pursing what you love?

You can love elephants – find them endlessly engaging and interesting but you need to understand how to sell that on to others.

• You could write a book on elephant management
• You could lecture on elephants
• You could sell elephant art (either by them or of them I suppose)

But is there a market?

Of course, if you are financially comfortable money might not be an issue at all and you can indulge your love of elephants to the end of your days, but ……..

I wonder how you will feel about yourself?

Work and productivity are hugely important to us humans. Like it or not we do set our worth by how valuable we are to the rest of humanity and indeed how much others are willing to pay us for what we know or do.

So unless you really are among the relatively few super rich you are going to at least have to keep your bank balance even. Yes, you can perhaps live on a lesser amount but then you will have to cut back on spending (no trips elephant watching for you or indeed buying books and DVDs of trips taken by others)

So where does this leave us?

With a need to be engaged in what we are doing and yet with one eye on how we will earn money from this interest or ability.

Of course, rather unfairly, if you turn that around, that you absolutely hate what you are doing, then you are indeed looking at a sure way to fail.

And therein lies the rub.

Often we go for the easy route to save ourselves (or so we think).

Perhaps we take a job that is not that interesting to us but well, it is a job (not to be sniffed at in these challenging times) but then we start to slip and never quite continue the search for the really interesting job that would require us to ‘up our game’ that might not be so comfortable to apply for.

Ho hum, some years later we are just a bit flabbier (physically or mentally or horrors both) that we ought to be. It is all just so dull.

Or feeling brave we start a business.

With an idea that came to us listening to someone else’s success. If he can do it I know I can! Of course, by now that market might be crowded, of course we may not like the product or service either and so things are tough (and so boring).

So yes, pursue what you love; then hone it and develop it and work out how it might pay.

Find a company you like and work on how you might get in; a job in the wrong department might allow you to be recruited internally for the department you are really interested in.

Start a business in the field you are actually interested and then make sure you get sound advice (no, not your best friend/mother/partner who will feel duty bound to support you with loving words and positive strokes!) as to how to give it the very best chance to grow and develop into something really amazing. And check your ego at the door when all your friends buy you in in the first six months as you may find yourself as having missed the lesson on how to promote the business to people beyond who you know now. You will then think your business is failing – it isn’t it just never really got properly started.

All this is absolutely achievable.

You can settle for making less money if that suits your circumstances and good for you, or you can really stretch and make a really good living.

It will be easier to spend long hours on something you like but that is the only magic here.

Commitment, interest and energy are what make people successful, a little bit of luck helps and a dollop of confidence, which if you do not have yet, will come along as soon as you start to make real progress and are able to reflect how much you are learning.

You know where we are

Angela

Angela Hackett on behalf of the PiPS team