Why “how can I get paid to do what I love?” is the wrong question (read this if you’re still looking for your one big “passion”)




Why “how do I find that big thing I love, so I can get paid to do it?” is the wrong question.

Let’s take today as an example:

This morning I was in love with being alone, making lists. (What can I say, it was a list-y kind of morning). At that moment I thought “I could spend all day on this”.

This lunchtime I loved being social: laughing and brainstorming with two lovely free rangers.  At that moment I thought “hmm, wouldn’t it be great if I did this all day?”

By the afternoon, I loved sketching out the plan for editing a crazy-beautiful launch video involving a) some of my favourite music and b) wearing a blue unicorn onesie (cause sometimes I look at business videos and think “what they’re missing is a good unicorn”).

At that moment all I wanted to do was make and edit videos: “maybe I should up sticks and do this forever!”

(… you’re still thinking about the unicorn outfit, right? Ok then, here we are again, on vacation in Australia).

Then I got up, and fell in love with going for a walk in the park and watching the dogs doing their thing. At that moment all I wanted to do was play with dogs and be outside. I could continue.

… But I think you already know what it feels like.

You’re multi-faceted when it comes to stuff that makes you go “ooh, want”.

In the moments when someone tells you to figure out what you love it’s like you just got told to choose just one favourite out of your 4 kids. You love them all.

What counts is not necessarily getting paid to do something that maybe-you-kind-of-liked-at-the-moment-you-thought-of-it. 

What counts is getting paid to be YOU.

That’s the one constant in your life.

The good news is: this is how most people create great free range careers in the first place. You see:

Finding ‘what you love’ gives the impression that the aim is to come across one thing-to-do and then spend all day doing just that one thing, forever.

Which isn’t actually how people function.

To start with, few own-boss types spend all day every day doing just one task! (Well not if they want to be a successful free range human).

Each day and each week sees you doing lots of things to deliver, grow, start, expand, whatever-it-is, your work.

I can’t emphasise how brilliant it is to have all these strands to being your own boss: I mean, here you are with all these extra bits of you looking for somewhere to fit, and right in front of you are all these extra roles waiting to be filled in any way you choose. Put the two together!

You get to write you job description for yourself as your Marketing Executive, as your CEO and your Head of Napping, so fill them with versions of the things you’re itching to do and the person that you are.

Maybe your extra ‘roles’ will involve lunch with people, or making fun videos, writing creatively or just thinking deeply and coming up with a very-organised-spreadsheet (if that’s what gets you in flow).

Bottom line: everyone’s path looks different. Choose yours based on who you are, not who you think you should be, and so much more will open up.

Change the conversation in your head from all-or-nothing to pick-and-mix

What if you dropped the idea of finding that ‘one thing you love’ (ie: feeling inadequate until you happen upon that one ‘passion’) and instead focussed on the moments that make you come alive?

What if you got to know you beyond any job description or business idea, and pulled the pieces together to write your own job description as your own boss?

(Or if you are already free range trying changing conversation away from “but I’m not allowed to do that, I should be doing my ‘real work’…” to “how can I use these other parts of me to enhance, and grow, what I do?”),

Wherever you’re starting from honey do me a favour: get good with who you are, rather than kicking yourself for not fitting into someone else’s box.

That’s when your real life takes off.

Like a million things? Sort of want to do EVERYTHING?

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  • Zsuzsa Jakab

    This, Marianne, has been my #1 problem for the past year while trying to figure out my new path in life. Society tells you that you need to specialize, be really good at one thing and do that repeatedly, but like you said, I don’t believe either that that’s how many of us (or any of us) function.

    Your point about ‘being you’ really brings it home to me, especially in a world where we struggle so hard to fit in. I guess the big question often is; who ARE we? What ARE all those things that make us come alive and how could we create value with them? I found that one of the best ways to figure that out is not only by introspection by but asking my closest friends some very tough questions in regards to how they see me.

  • Ahh, what a breath of fresh air!! In love with this point of view. Definitely takes of some pressure.

  • Maxine Schiffmann

    This article was exactly what I needed to hear.
    I am multi-passionate so choosing just one thing to do as a wannabe free ranger is just too hard. Whenever I try to choose just one thing such as personal development, I feel like I am cutting out another part of myself. Thank you for making it clear that it is all about
    finding what’s inside you – not what’s “out there”. Great article Marianne!

  • Shanns

    The first half of your post is me, literally. “omg i love baking cookies, let’s do this all the time!” “wow i love playing with my daughter, i should totally work with kids!” ” writing blog posts are my favorite thing ever, i should do this”. Thank you for making it feel okay to piece a bunch of things together to make me whole in my career.

  • How you market what it is you do can cover most loves. I love to bake, so I make brownies for clients (that’s accounting and money management coaching clients) and talk about cake a lot. I have a Cake & Brownies board on Pinterest as well as a Money & Self Employed board, and if a client wants to discuss the finer details of flour varieties as well as how to get more expenses off their tax bill, then that’s good too.

  • Yes yes yes! Thank you for this. Such an encouraging post. The idea of getting sucked down one path is not a nice prospect and you’ve articulated why perfectly. It’s not about ‘finding your passion’ and getting paid to do it, it’s about ‘being you’ and getting paid for the value that brings to the world. Love it. Thanks 🙂

  • That’s brilliant Rosie! The Baking Accountant perhaps?

  • I have world domination plans so I have Brand Me and Business Brand being run together. That’s a really good name, so it’s going right in my notebook for when the AHA! moment for where to put it arrives 🙂

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