How to Make a Living doing what you Love

Reading Time: 2 minutes 48 seconds

How to make a living from your passion

Do what you love?

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I’ve developed a sick fascination with the British TV show Masterchef.   In the show 156 aspiring amateur chefs compete for the title of “Masterchef”.  They cook for two judges, an angry bald man and an equally irate Aussie who critique their food and slowly kill their dreams, one by one.

The Impossible Dream

My fascination is not with the food (although the contestant who cooked a tinned peach and tomato bread pudding was pretty special).  It lies with the contestants.  In reality TV, the head-shot is a vital tool for every director.   This is where we hear the ambition, the motivation, the dream.  Here are a few from the series so far:

I do know what I want to do in life now, my passion is food.  My dream is to run a restaurant in the Scottish Highlands” Andrew (Property Developer)

I want my life to be completely about food.  I want to do it full time.” Kirstie (Real Estate Broker)

I’m very passionate about food – its been a hobby up until know and Masterchef will allow me to move it forward” Peter (Police Officer)

I love cooking and to do that for a living would be a dream.  Masterchef means everything to me” Kerry (Full-time Mum)

Almost every contestant is hoping to make a living from cooking.  I love their passion for food and their huge dreams.  They put their heart and soul into this competition.  Yet at every turn, these lifelong ambitions are crushed.  Only one can be crowned Masterchef.

That Makes Me Mad

The show makes me angry.  When I hear contestant after contestant laying out their dream for a career in cooking I seethe.  “What’s stopping you?” I scream at the screen.  “Just go and do it”.

9 ways to explore your Passion

There are many ways to start making a living doing what you love.  I don’t think that entering a competition with a 1 in 156 chance of winning and no guarantees of success at the end is the best way.

So how could these contestants go about making a living from their passion?  The answer is one step at a time:

  1. Do what you love – a lot. Cook, cook, cook for anyone and everyone.  Practice the skill you want to make a living from as much as possible
  2. Develop your skills. Go to cookery school.  Learn the basic techniques and advanced skills.  Hone your style, and practice some more.
  3. Join groups that share your passion. Find others who love food and build networks with them.
  4. Interview people who already make a living from your passion. Start talking to restaurant owners and chefs.  Learn about the profession from those already in it.  Understand what you are committing to.
  5. Get experience. Look for an opportunity to cook in a professional kitchen.  Volunteer to clean dishes for free.  Be a sous chef and chop onions all day.  Get into the lion’s den to see what life is really like.
  6. Establish your expertise. Blog about food – share your passion with the world and get a following
  7. Take small steps to make money. Write a cookbook and sell it online – find a way to make a small living in a risk free way from food
  8. Write a business plan – look at the financial realities of being a cook or owning a restaurant and see how that fits with your other values in life.  Get experts and your network to review the plan.
  9. Start increasing your commitment. Set up a street stand to sell food, or take a part-time job in a kitchen

None of these actions are too difficult in themselves, yet combined they will help to live the passion.  Following these steps would allow the contestants to test out if this really is the dream they were looking for, and build the skills and experience to succeed.

If you are ready in making a doing what you love, think about how these steps might work for you.  You can start taking action to explore the possibilities and start making the dream a reality.

What is your passion in life?  What would it mean to make a living from it?  What advice can you share on making this happen?  Please share your thoughts with the LoL Community.  Thank you.

Picture credit : Tracy Hunter (Flickr Creative Commons)

How to Think Big for your Life and Career – 5 lessons from Rudyard Kipling

Reading Time: 2 minutes and 8 seconds

As I’ve turned my attention to Thinking Big for the next decade, I’ve encountered some interesting challenges.  Getting excited about the possibilities that lie ahead has seen me encounter some of my old friends – fear, anxiety and reality.  I’ve heard the little voices in my head popping up to try and persuade me “you can’t do that”, “don’t be ridiculous” or “that’s impossible”.  The fear of failure and the embarrassment that comes with it nearly stopped the Big Thinking in its tracks.  Luckily, I was drawn to the wise words of Rudyard Kipling in his poem, If.  Here are some key lessons:

1 If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too.

Kipling’s first lesson is to believe in yourself.  If you believe in your ability and your vision wholeheartedly, you’ll increase your chances of success.  It will help you to remain focused in your actions and to deal with the skepticism of others.  Starting with the mindset that everything is possible is a very powerful assumption for Thinking Big.  Kipling adds that it is understandable that others might doubt you, and not to dismiss them for that – however it is vital to trust yourself.   Building up our self-belief by taking action helps to lower our fear of failure.

2. If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same;

Kipling’s famous line rings true for Thinking Big.  The path to realizing your goals may not always be smooth.  We all face kinks in the road, and days when everything seems to go wrong.  Kipling advises remaining calm and focused at these times.  The genius of this advice is to take the same approach when amazing triumphs occur.  Getting off the emotional rollercoaster ride is a key to staying focused and that helps us to achieve our goals.  We can only control our actions, not the results of how we act and this maxim reminds of us this.  If we give 100% and accept the results, fear of failure can start to fade away.

3. If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,?’ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch;

Kipling reminds us to stay humble regardless of our trajectory and surroundings.  Thinking Big may lead to huge changes in our life as the journey progresses.  Kipling suggests staying true to ourselves and being authentic in our relationships to others.  His advice is not to keep our virtue and humility intact as we progress on life’s journey.  This reminder has helped me to manage my anxiety over Thinking Big.

4. If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

Kipling hits on one of the keys to Thinking Big – the ability to dream without letting the dream take over.  A dream or vision can provide huge motivation and focus, yet life has a sense of humour and the unexpected is never far away.  A fixed dream can become a rod for our backs, or even worse blind us to the possibilities in a situation.  Kipling teaches us that we have to be focused, yet flexible in our approach to life.

5. Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

Kipling reminds us again that if we follow our dreams and retain our composure, then anything and everything is possible.  Thinking Big isn’t easy but If we can stay focused, act with humility, believe in ourselves and manage our expectations then amazing success is possible.

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Thinking Big – The Story of the Orchard

OrchardReading Time: 1 minute 4 seconds

I’ve found myself talking a lot about Thinking Big recently.  One metaphor that keeps coming up for me is the Story of the Orchard.  In the past I’ve thought big, but never acted big – I’ve lacked the confidence to believe in my vision.  It is natural to have doubts over a grand vision and there are always people on hand to knock your ideas and run you down.  Finding the self-confidence, dedication and patience to stick with the plan is a real challenge.

This story is about a farmer who had a run down field at the back of her house.  The farmer told her friend that one day that field would grow the best fruit in the county.  He laughed at her, “Ridiculous, that land is a disaster and it always has been – totally infertile and covered in weeds.  What a waste of time!”

Through the heat of the summer, the farmer toiled in the sun to pull out the thick-set weeds.  Sometimes she just wanted to pack it in and hide in the farmhouse.  When the land was cleared, she had to pick out the huge rocks and stones in the soil one by one.  It was backbreaking and her friend came by to remind her that she was wasting her time, every day.  She ploughed and fertilised the land, breaking several plough blades on hidden rocks along the way.  The thought crossed her mind “I am ridiculous” but she pictured the golden apples and strove on.

The farmer invested a good portion of her savings in the best seeds and cuttings she could afford and planted them.  She tended the young plants diligently.  The first year, there was a severe frost and most of the young plants were killed, however a few survived and that summer she got some beautiful strawberries.  She decided to give it one more go and follow her dream.  As the years went by, the sun and rain helped  the plants become mighty trees.  Before too long, the trees were groaning with sweet luscious fruit – much more than the farmer could ever use.  She shared the fruit with the whole county and particularly her friend who had mocked her on every occasion.  Before long, everyone was taking cuttings and seeds to grow their own fruit and no-one could contemplate not having an orchard.

This story shows that when you think big, everything is possible.  The key is to believe enough in your thoughts and overcome those around who think you are crazy.  Having a clear vision and plan is important.  Even more important is being patient and grateful and seeing potential challenges as part of the overall success.  In the end thinking big can yield fruit for you, those around you and even change the world that you live in.

So keep on exploring how you can think big, and also act big.  Also if you enjoyed this, please do subscribe by clicking the envelope icon to the right. You’ll get every new post delivered to you and you’ll support me in thinking big to get 1,000 subscribers to Less Ordinary Living.

Less Ordinary Career Transition – Permission to Wallow

In response to a recent postingPig in mud 1 about Terri’s 4-month journey to find a more meaningful role before being deported, one of our readers, Ellen, shared that rather than feeling motivated by Terri’s success, she somehow felt bad about it – like she couldn’t relate to this seemingly idyllic, inspirational tale.  What about when we hit roadblocks, she wondered, or when we lack clarity and we’re overwhelmed by our emotions?

In her last line, Ellen somewhat sheepishly asked for permission to wallow in her emotions and it got me thinking. Why can’t we wallow, I wondered?  Are there only downsides or can there be actual benefits to wallowing?  And as a coach, could I encourage it as part of the career change process?  What I discovered was overwhelming and unexpected. Yes! I can definitely get behind wallowing…to a point and with a purpose.

After much thought and reflection on my own career journey and the journey of the hundreds of clients I have worked with, few if any, were without setbacks and periods of sadness, frustration, anger and doubt.  Yet it seems that for many of us, we’re afraid to sit too long with our feelings and emotions.  We’ve come to see wallowing defined as self-pity, being self-absorbed and stagnating.

Well the way I’m looking at wallowing is somewhat different.  Let me explain my line of thought.

wallow [wol-oh] –verb (used without object)

1. to roll about or lie in water, snow, mud, dust, or the like, as for refreshment: Goats wallowed in the dust.
2. to live self-indulgently; luxuriate; revel: to wallow in luxury; to wallow in sentimentality.

When reading the definition, you can see that wallowing implies being in the moment, allowing yourself the time and space to really take it all in, the good and bad.  And from this perspective, I think wallowing in your emotions can be beneficial.  In our career transitions, as in many other aspects of our work and life, we are very rarely encouraged to slow down and breathe; to regroup and reassess.  As I see it, that’s what wallowing is all about.  Wallowing allows you the opportunity to deeply feel your emotions and listen to the messages they are sending.

This quiet time allows you to really be with your emotions. If we take the time to really let our emotions in, we take a critical step towards being able to release them and move forward with greater ease.  Additionally, we can learn powerful things from the messages they are sending us. Just don’t let yourself get stuck in the emotional mud.

So Ellen, permission is granted!  We all need to do a bit of wallowing in order to be successful.  Roll around in your feelings, revel in them.  Learn all you can from them and use the insight to move you into inspired action.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when we’ll look at some ways to make the most of your wallowing.

A Less Ordinary New Career – Terri’s Journey

Reading time: 2 minutes and 4 seconds

My client Terri knew she wanted a more meaningful career and we’d started taking action to make that happen.  What happened when redundancy and the threat of leaving sunny California raised the stakes?

Here she tells about her Less Ordinary Journey to a new career:

How did your Job Search come about?

I knew that management consulting wasn’t my long-term career choice as it simply wasn’t providing me with the learning opportunities  and meaningful work I was looking for.  I’d started working with Phil to make a change.  Out of the blue, my firm had a “pipeline traction discussion” with me.  The bottom line was that I lost my job and as a Canadian that gave me a fairly limited time (about four months) to find a new one or leave the US.  I was really concerned about the time pressure I was under and the state of the job market; it seemed like a really tough proposition.

How did you start your job search?

I had developed a vision of my ideal work which was much more people focused but still let me use my analytical skills.  Throughout the process, I always kept this in the back of my mind.  I started to work up a series of criteria for the next role – physical location, salary, culture and most importantly, the role and actual work content.  I knew that there may be some tough decisions to make and wanted to be clear on what was most important.

Fortunately, we’d already done a lot of work on my resume and that was a good lesson to always keep it up to date.

What practical steps did you take to get started?

I saw three major avenues to looking for a job.  The most immediate (and simplest) was to use the internet and job boards.  I set up automatic searches for roles that matched my criteria and applied for these.  Second, I identified good recruiters through referrals from friends and briefed the recruiters on the type of role I was looking for and my criteria.

Most importantly, I started to mobilise my network.  I know that more than half of all jobs come through this route, so I devoted about 80% of my time here.  I mapped out my contacts and identified about 140 people who were best placed to help.  I used a combination of the phone and email and sent personalised messages describing my situation, a carefully crafted description of what I was looking for, and a clear request for opportunities and importantly for introductions.

I found that the response rate was good, although it was vital to persist and follow up to get the most from my network.  We also came up with offering a bottle of champagne as an incentive to whoever helped me find my dream job!

How did you stay focused and persistent?

In the first few weeks, it wasn’t too difficult as there was a lot to do.  As the weeks went by and things slowed down, I had to reflect on the fact that there was no acceptable back up plan for me.  This helped me stay motivated.  I was able to brainstorm with my support network on new creative plans, like coming up with a list of dream companies to work for, and using LinkedIn to find connections there. I also took some time to obtain a professional certification that I thought would help in my search.

It was important for me to keep a routine and treat the job search like a regular job, but I was sure to make time for my regular activities (running, time with friends etc.)  I also made sure that I had some incentives for successfully completing my tasks – a weekend in Vegas certainly helped!

What happened next?

Slowly, interviews started to appear and my focus moved to interview preparation.  I spent a lot of time with Phil developing clear examples of my core skills and then talking convincingly about these.  Once these were complete, I found that much of my prep time was spent identifying what was most compelling about that company and the role I was applying for.

So what was your happy ending?

Jobs are a bit like buses and after a seeming eternity of waiting, two came along at once.  The timing wasn’t ideal as the first job I was offered didn’t fit all of my criteria and I had to hang in for a while.  The second job was pretty much ideal – great location, close to home, exciting company and culture and a role that fitted with my vision.  I guess in the final interview I felt like I had nothing to lose and that gave me the confidence to go for it.  I was able to negotiate a package that I was very happy with and am excited to start work in a couple of weeks.

I learned a lot about myself during this journey.  Probably the most important lesson was that you can only control what you do and not what happens as a result.  Despite the pressure I was under, I was able to consistently devote my absolute best to the journey and not be attached to the results.