Too many people spend their lives in jobs that aren’t rewarding financially or emotionally—and I’m guessing if you’re reading this article, this applies to you in some way. Maybe you entered into your career for the money only to discover that you’re not making as much as you thought you would. Maybe your job has become as about as interesting as staring at a beige wall. Or perhaps your employer expects you to practically live at the office and you’re sick of not having a life outside of a gray cubicle. Meanwhile, your dream of being a writer, business owner, helping those less fortunate or whatever it may be has fallen by the wayside. Your life has become filled with regret and you’re no longer living life on your terms.
I’m sure you’ve seen some people out there who beam with excitement whenever they talk about their careers and many of them are making a lot of money while doing it. The difference between those people and you is that those handful of people found their passion and became so obsessed with it, they became the master of their craft—an expert in their field. Eventually, their obsession paid off and they started earning top dollar.
If you want to join those group of people who love their job and get paid generously to do it, you must first start with finding your passion. The problem with doing any other type of work (besides being bored) is that you’re more likely to produce mediocre work. It’s simply too hard to produce high quality work when your heart’s not init. On the other hand, if you love it, you will want to do it well.
Think about the handful of people in the world who are filthy rich—like Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey to name a few. What all of these individuals have in common is that they are extremely passionate about what they do. They are also all lifelong learners who have and always will work hard to understand the field they’re working in. They do this because they love it.
If you don’t know what this passion could be, I highly recommend reading through a book like What Color is Your Parachute or a similar title. Also ask yourself what you would do if you had a year off with no commitments or responsibilities or what hobbies you can’t wait to do. I call this the big, neon arrows. Everyone has a hobby or two they absolutely love to do. All arrows point to this passion. You spend time and money on it and look forward to doing it every time.This is your passion and this is the field you should work in.
Once you have figured that out, the next step—a huge step—is to become an expert in that field as quickly as possible. Here is the fastest way to do that:
- Research what the minimum requirements are to do the job you want and then find the cheapest and fastest way to get those requirements. I strongly suggest NOT going to college unless you want to be something like a lawyer or surgeon. Many other jobs can be tackled with just some training, a few courses and, most importantly, a certification (from a reputable institution, of course). Getting a college degree takes too long and is often very expensive.
- Once you have some work experience and are certified, start your own blog, podcast, YouTube channel or write some ebooks on the topic. This will help you become an expert in your field.
- Consider niching down to a more narrow job title in the field you want to work in. For example, if you want to work in social media, consider the specific types of businesses you would like to work with such as museums or restaurants.
- Have a LinkedIn Profile and update your profile. Be sure to call yourself by your new job title on this site and all other social media you use. Once you have some more experience under your belt, start calling yourself “expert,” “consultant,” “specialist” or some other adjective that amplifies your skill set. For example, if you want to be that person who works in social media for museums, your profile could say “social media expert specializing in museums and galleries.”
- The last step is to add your own personal style. You must have the guts to put your own personal touch or angle on the work that you do. You’ll always have naysayers and people who don’t get you. That’s okay. To stand out, you have to be amazing at what you do but also unique. Take, for example, world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. He became a master of his passion for blown glass and created his own distinct style. He turned his artistry and skill into a business and he is now worth millions. Using our own example of the “social media expert who specializes in museums,” your angle could be that you always focus on the visitor’s perspective in anything that you post.
If you don’t know yet what your personal style in your new line of work will be, just keep working at becoming an expert. You’ll eventually figure it out. Just keep moving forward and always have the guts to follow your heart and be true to yourself. Then, I promise, the happiness (and money) will follow:)