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Do What You Love Love What You Do
This beautiful quote was originally attributed to Confucius though Ray Bradbury also came up with his own spin on the phrase. Confucius also wrote this, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. The great Steve Jobs put it like this “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Wise words indeed but how many people can actually claim that they genuinely adore how they make a living? I suspect not nearly enough of us.
All of those quotes resonate with me today though it took me decades before I had the courage to follow my heart and do what I love. Let me explain with my backstory.
When I was a shy teenager, I was at a very low ebb. My parents had divorced and I was deeply affected by their very public split. Rightly or wrongly I chose to move with my Dad and my sister to Melbourne, Australia. We had only been there for 8 months and then suddenly he died. He was 35 years old. As you can imagine I was heartbroken. Here I was, 10,000 miles away from the rest of my family and unsurprisingly I felt deeply traumatised. My education was affected as was my career and my self esteem was at all time low. I drifted from one job to the next, directionless and with little desire to find my calling. At the time my sister seemed to be coping well, though I was not.
The truth is, I felt lost at sea. I didn’t know who I was anymore so I sought advice from a friend called Elaine at work. Elaine knew I’d lost my dad, my best friend in the world. She was aware that I had little money and my career was at a standstill and I wanted to try and move my life on. At this point I felt the urge to throw myself into a career to distract myself from the numbing pain. I had to find a way to move things on.
As I write this today, I can still hear Elaine’s advice now. “Forget the money. The money is not important. First, you must find a career which you like. In fact it should be something which you love. When you put your heart and soul into something which you love, your soul will grow. And as you grow, so will your confidence. As your confidence grows, you will become passionate. Your passion with the career which you love will flourish and people will notice you. People will want to work with you. This is when the money will come to you but not until you find your calling. Find something you love. Find your true calling”.
Follow Your Dreams
Unfortunately I didn’t follow Elaine’s advice until years later. Hindsight is a great thing! In the end, my sister and I flew back to the UK to be with our Mum. I made amends with my education by going to college. I just about scraped enough A levels to go to University by the skin of my teeth. After graduating from University, I fell into a career in TV, though not by design. At this stage, I still hadn’t discovered my calling. I had a career which I liked, but not one which I loved. I’m embarrassed to admit that it would take me another 10+ years before I finally had the courage to follow Elaine’s advice to do what I love and follow my dreams to “do what you love love what you do.”
Eventually I found my calling and that was photography. It was something which I loved doing. I was hugely passionate about photography and I loved people. In time the money would follow though initially this wasn’t about the money. This was about following my dream. Creating photographic art, doing what I loved!
Photography As A Career
Now twelve years on, being paid to do something which I love, I still have to pinch myself. I am very lucky though of course it wasn’t an overnight success. I worked hard. If the truth be know, probably a bit too hard initially! Whilst I loved photography, it was important to get the correct work/life balance as my wife Sam and I have three kids. So I threw myself into my photography career and fell head over heels in love immediately.
I write all of this not to gloat or to brag. I write this because I believe that we should all follow our dreams. The world would be a much happier place if we were to follow our collective hearts. We should all do what we love. So if there’s one piece of advice, it would be this.
Don’t wait. Follow your destiny today. I am not suggesting you resign from your job and pursue your dream career without a plan. You will need to know where you are going. Start off by grabbing a pen and a piece of paper and write down everything that you love. Then begin to work out how you could turn your love, your passion into a career. Perhaps it means having to study? To go back to college to get the qualifications needed? Perhaps you could study online or maybe an evening course? Or even shadow someone? Maybe it’s a question of just doing, instead of being?
What’s Your Dream?
So I challenge you to pursue your dream today. Start that research and see just how amazing life can be if you follow your heart. Last night one of my photography dreams came true when I had one of portrait images selected for an exhibition in London. I was pretty overjoyed. Expect to see more of my work being exhibited as I follow more of my dreams.
You can learn more about Loving What You Do here in an excellent article on the Forbes website. Here’s a brilliant Tedx talk from Bert Jacobs about the importance of ‘liking what you do“. Plus, there’s also the absolutely superb new book from entrepreneur Holly Tucker, with the very same title as this blog post!! So what are you waiting for? Do what you love love what you do. It could be the making of you! Written by Jay Rowden
P.S. My new website for my fine art photography is called Rowden Art. Take a look and let me know what you think.