Recently Beth was on a panel at a debate in London, talking about whether Doing What You Love being good advice is ‘an urban myth’. As you can imagine, she was on the side arguing that it is important, valuable advice. During the lively debate, hosted by Barclays at the Royal Institute, a number of interesting points were raised by the audience. Due to time constraints, not all of these were discussed, but I wanted to pick up on one in particular that we hear quite often ourselves: the idea that doing what you love is selfish.
Personally I couldn’t disagree with this more. I think that the exact opposite is true. Of course, in the beginning when you are exploring your interests and your passions and realising your hopes and dreams, it may feel like you are being a little self-indulgent, especially if you aren’t used to spending time doing things that you enjoy and care about. But as soon as you open your heart and mind to doing what you love, through conversations, by being pro-active, or even starting a new business, you find that what you love starts to matter to other people too.
A personal journey towards doing what you love begins with asking yourself some really deep and thought-provoking questions. Questions that are all about you, your life and how you want it to be. But to perceive this as you being self-absorbed or even selfish is very short-sighted. Once you start to find the answers amazing things can happen. You start interacting with like-minded people who share your ideas, your passions and your interests, you open your heart and mind to exciting new opportunities that make help you learn and grow; you discover a greater charity and a willingness to share and collaborate, and you strive to be your best self.
Let me give you two very good examples based on two people featured in our recent Alchemy Series.
Dave Cornthwaite: a Graphic Designer who at 26 had everything that society had implied he needed to be successful. However he was far from happy. 10 years ago he left it all behind and set out on a journey to find some answers. His adventures since then have been very inspiring. His ‘Say Yes More’ campaign is helping transform the mindset of thousands and his newest project is helping plant a huge number of trees. His personal journey has ultimately allowed him to inspire many others to follow their own passions and do what they love.
Emily Penn: after University Emily was offered a job as an architect in Australia but because she was so committed to protecting the environment she refused to fly. Instead, she sailed there from the UK. It was on this journey that she discovered a deep love and respect for both the ocean and the communities she met along the way. Rather than taking the job, she became an ocean advocate and she is now passionate about eliminating plastics from the sea.
These personal quests were pivotal to finding clarity and purpose and they highlight just what can be achieved when you follow your true passion. Maybe when you are the best ‘you’ that you can be, you can create the most opportunities to help and inspire others.
If you are struggling with the idea of doing what you love, or feel that it is selfish, or that it is hard to focus on your own plans and dreams when you have so many obligations to others, then I would encourage you to consider joining us for the Do What You Love e-course beginning on June 15, 2015. It will completely change your perspective, and help you understand why the world actually needs you to do what you love.
Either way, this month I’d like to challenge you to think about someone who inspires you. How they have followed their own passions? How have they ended up having a greater impact in the world as a result? Then think about what that could look like for you.
Until next time,