“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” — Edwin Markham
I’ve always been intrigued by people who do work they love and work that makes a difference.
I admire their willingness to take risk and to stretch their comfort zone. I appreciate their sense of purpose and dedication to making an impact.
But, how did they get to that point? How did they know what they wanted? What difficult choices did they make? Did they have to make sacrifices?
What better way to get answers than to ask people who are making it happen, and doing work they enjoy and care about.
I asked 11 dream chasers this question:
“What’s the most important choice you’ve made in order to do work you really care about?”
What they said will help you realize it takes hard work, commitment, and some soul-searching, but that you too can do work you care about if you make the choice.
Chris Guillebeau – Author, blogger & speaker
“I learned to pay attention to what I really wanted to do, not what I thought I should do or what other people expected of me.”
Srinivas Rao – Author & podcast host
“The most important choice that I’ve made is the team that I work with. It’s been said that you become the average of the 5 people who you surround yourself with. The team of people you work with is who you are around the most. Choose them wisely.”
Amy Clover – Fitness personality, speaker & writer
“The most important choice I’ve made in order to do work I really care about is to open the darkest places of my past and myself to others. Through sharing the things I was so ashamed of for so long, I found the ultimate healing in community, empathy and service. Your shame could very well be the aspect to which your audience can best relate.”
Dan Cumberland – Writer, coach & podcast host
“The most important choice I’ve made is to follow my curiosity without putting too much pressure on myself to make sure that it turns into paying work. In order to find my way into the work that matters most to me, I had to first allow myself the space to play and experiment.”
Laura Coe – Coach, author, & podcast host
“The most important choice I have made to do the work I care about is simple: get a coach. I had to get clear about what I wanted, what I cared about, what mattered to me. I had to get out of my own way and without a coach, I could not do that effectively.”
Bryan Teare – Coach & podcast host
“When I decided to leave my corporate job 3 years ago, I had no plan B or ideas of what I would do next. I just knew that I wanted (more like NEEDED) to do something that made an impact. While I don’t recommend this approach to people in a similar situation now, what I did know at the time is that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t quit. There’s a lot of power in deciding that giving up is not an option. Once you’ve decided that, I would recommend experimenting with different ideas and not becoming attached to the outcome of those ideas.”
Arvind Devalia – Author & coach
“The most important choice I’ve made in order to do the work I really care about is to be more of ME in everything I do, say and have. It is about being connected with who I really am and bringing that into the world through my coaching, blogging, published book and social media presence.”
So I have chosen to walk my talk and to always show up authentically with love and vulnerability, whilst at the same time owning my power and following a life of purpose and contribution”.
Joe Pardo – Business consultant & podcast host
“Walking away from a life you were bred to live is insanely difficult. Making the choice to consider what my life would look like without working in my family’s $100 million business took four years to decide. You have to get really intentional with how you want to spend your time and calculating how you are going to get there. Life will go on no matter what you decide to do with your life, but the odds are impossibly slim that it will turn out the way you want, if you don’t take the time to get clear on what it is you want in the first place.”
Aimee J. – Podcast host & blogger
“The choice to make time for the work I really care about. I have a lot going on in my life and it’s easy to say I don’t have time at the end of the day. Each day I make the conscious choice to do something, regardless of how small, towards that work. It keeps me motivated and excited to know that I can say I am working on what I really care about.”
Stephen Palmer – Author & coach
“The most important choice I’ve made in order to do work I really care about is to always be pursuing my passion on the side, no matter what I’ve done on the front to earn money. Your front is how you make a living. The side is where you dream and discover, wonder and experiment. The side is your part-time venture that gives you hope and energy to get through your full-time grind. Everyone has bills to pay, so do that responsibly. In the meantime, play with your passion on the side
I became a writer by writing on the side for free for six month. I was then approached by someone to write a book. When that book became a bestseller, freelance writing became my new front. I started writing my “Inspiration Weekly” newsletters on the side in December of 2011–with no way to monetize it. I was just pursuing my passion. When my list grew to several thousand subscribers, I then monetized it with coaching. These are just a couple examples of many that I could list over the years. My front pays the bills. My side feeds my fire. My front gives me stability. My side gives me inspiration and excitement. My front provides security. My side produces freedom. My front builds my credibility. My side builds my wings. My front gives me a dependable home base from which I can safely launch side projects. If those side projects crash and burn, my life and family don’t come crashing down with them. When side projects take off, I follow them where they lead.”
Jessica Sweet – Career change coach
“I think the most important choice I’ve made in order to do what I love is not give up even when things got tough or even when I wanted to. There have been times when things have been hard, or haven’t been going so well. I’ve had major technical problems, or lost my mojo for a little while. During all of those times I could have chosen to give up and see what else is out there, but I didn’t. I knew that despite all the hurdles, there’s so much I love about this work: the connection with people from around the world, truly being able to help, the creativity and the freedom in my lifestyle. I think if there’s work you love in the world, you have to be willing to do whatever you need to do in order to do it. For lots of people that means surviving a day job for a while, or doing the hard work of escape planning. But whatever it is, that work is worth it, because when you do what you love, even though every day isn’t perfect, it’s yours.”
Photo credit: James Forbes