How to find and do what you love
I know a guy who struggled for years, searching for his talents and purpose.
I wonder if you can relate to his search, and identify and learn from the things he did to find his place in life.
Growing up, so many people gave him confusing advice, so many experiences befuddled him.
He hated high school. Everything about it felt so shallow, petty, and ridiculous to him. A charade of cliques and labels. A mind-numbing conveyor belt. Jumping through hoops, playing a game to get to real life.
So when an opportunity arose to go to college his junior and senior years of high school, he pounced on it. When he told his high school English teacher what he was going to do, she frowned, looked down at him over her nose, and said, “Aren’t you worried that you’re going to miss the best years of your life?”
No, Mrs. Heydet, he smirked to himself, that’s the least of my concerns.
While he liked college much more than high school, he still struggled. His grades were atrocious. He was bored and unmotivated. Nothing had context for him — without knowing who he was and what he wanted to do with his life, his learning was abstract.
Grasping for answers, he took a career prep course. He knew something was amiss when he took a lengthy, detailed test that would supposedly give him viable career options based on his strengths and interests, and the top answer spit out by the machine was “bus driver.” Not that he had anything against bus drivers, but his dreams weren’t exactly filled with visions of driving a bus full of screaming kids.
He barely squeezed through the hoops of academia, eking out a 2.37 GPA.
After graduating, he had no clue what to do with his life. So he thought he’d travel for a while. He got a job delivering Wonder bread and Hostess cakes to grocery and convenience stores, with the plan of saving up money to travel.
Roaming across Europe was fantastic, but when he got back he was still stuck. He got another delivery job, this time for a water company.
A couple years later, his first big clue came, and a bizarre clue it was. As he was deep in contemplation and prayer one day at work, Father told him to start a window cleaning company.
He was blind-sided and thoroughly bewildered, not to mention scared to death of entrepreneurship. But he followed that prompting enthusiastically. He started knocking doors after finishing his job each day, offering people free estimates for window cleaning.
His business exploded. He had received his prompting in August, and by November he had quit his job and was working his business full time. Business went so well that within a year he had six employees.
He began attending seminars put on by a financial services company with revolutionary ideas. He loved what he was learning. When the company told him they wanted to start a content-based membership subscription, he wanted to help.
He offered to write their daily email and monthly newsletter for free. Writing had always come easy for him, though he’d never once considered it as a career option.
He wrote for the company for free for six months. He had no end game, no reason to do it other than he simply enjoyed doing it.
Then, one of the founders approached him and said he wanted him to ghostwrite a book and offered to pay him $15,000. He readily accepted and got to work. When that book became a bestseller, he sold his window cleaning company and launched a freelance writing career.
He fell in love with the power of the written word and wondered why it took him so long to discover that. Despite that love, it wasn’t always easy. Some months paid well, other months he didn’t make a dime.
But he gutted it out through five tough years, riding the ups, enduring the downs.
And all the while, he wrote about his passion for freedom on his personal blog. No pay. Tiny audience. Just because he had important things bursting from his soul that needed to be said.
Then one day he read the Holstee Manifesto. Lightbulb moment: Why not write dozens of life manifestos and sell them as posters? And so he did it. Tiny budget. So many unknowns. Just following his bliss. And his posters sold.
Then he felt a prompting to publish a book of his blog posts he’d been writing for free. So he did. Tiny budget. Tiny audience. But a few people read his book and liked it. And it spread. One book at a time until it started opening opportunities.
And so it is, that after years of
- Following a few critical spiritual promptings
- Following my bliss from one project to the next — even when it meant working for free for years
- Staying committed to a purpose — especially when it was hard and I couldn’t see anything in the darkness except for the next tiny step in front of me…
I’ve found my place and live the life of my dreams. Every day, I wake up and pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. What an indescribable blessing it is to do what I love.
But this story is not about me. It’s about you and your quest to find your place and do what you were born to do, what you love to do. I hope my story helps you in that journey.