Live What You Love

70% of American workers dislike their job. (source)

Work has the overall largest effect on our mood. (source)

Fewer than 1 in 3 Americans are “very happy.” (source)

What. The. Fuck.

Emily here – I grew up in a family of hard-working adults who hated their jobs. They were doing the work they had to do to help us survive, and I am so grateful for the sacrifices they made. And my grandparents and parents aren’t the only ones. It’s most of the world. For generations that has been what is expected: get a job with good benefits that provides for your family, and do it every day until you can retire. Even if you hate it.

I had teachers who hated their jobs. The man at the deli counter makes it obvious that he hates his job. The woman at the bank can think of a million places she’d much rather be. Judging by the statistics above, over half of the people who surround you on a daily basis are sincerely unhappy with the thing they spend half of their life doing, and that has a strong impact on the rest of their life and their overall happiness.

I always found this startling, and at some point—I don’t know exactly when—I decided to not ever be one of those people who hated my work, and therefore hated my life.

I’m “guilty” of quitting more than one job in my day because I simply didn’t find it fulfilling or enjoyable. Even when I graduated from college with a degree that I knew would lead me straight into a job I would hate, I said ‘no thanks,’ threw my new degree out the metaphorical window and started designing websites instead as a freelancer. Because I liked designing websites and being a freelancer meant I could make my own rules.

It’s always been my mission to love what I do because I can’t let a sucky job cause me to have a sucky life. I owe myself more than that. I owe my family—the people who have to be around me every day—more than that. I want my work to be the fulfilling engine that provides for a life that I love, and I want a rich life to be the fuel that leaves me gunning to do work that brings me joy.

I want to live what I love, through and through.

As a creative…

It’s your duty to do work that you believe in. Work that brings you joy. Work that allows you to express yourself in the best way(s) that you can.

You need to create, make, coach, guide, and share. You need to believe. You need to spread your soul’s message far and wide through whatever medium you have at your disposal.

If you don’t, you’re wasting your talents. You’re not fulfilling your destiny. You’re putting a stopper on your potential for happiness.

By embodying your creativity, you’re taking the first step towards living what you love.

Need more encouragement to own your creativity? Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert will light up your world.

As an entrepreneur…

You have the drive to make money doing just about anything. You have a business-owning bone somewhere in your body that’s pushing you to monetize, to make a viable business model. As an entrepreneur, you see more risk in not taking the leap than in taking the leap. There’s magic in that.

You have the capacity and the ability to support yourself and your family. You have tools at your disposal to make it work – to reach an audience, share your passion, make a difference.

If you can survive the challenges, the testing and changing, the trial-and-error, and the learning curve – if you have a real entrepreneurs streak in you, you’ll make it. You’ll make profit that helps provides for your life while doing work that you believe in.

You’ll sacrifice – we all do. But the payoffs will set you up to live what you love.

As creative entrepreneurs…

We’re in a position to live what we love. We can do work we believe in. We can make a difference. And we can make money doing it.

What’s at stake?

Your happiness. The happiness (and health?!) of your love ones, of your children. Your potential. Your here and now, as well as your future.

I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but everything is at stake.

How different would the world be if we all loved what we did all day?

Don’t get me wrong. We’ll tell you any day that being a creative entrepreneur is not all sunshine and daisies. I don’t love everything about my life and work, but I certainly have the power to shift things as I see fit to keep me loving it all far more than I dislike any part of it.

And it makes me a happier person than I ever was doing work I didn’t enjoy. I see who I am today, and I know who I could have become if I hadn’t chosen this path. I see the unhealthy states of my grandparents and parents – the resentment, fatigue, depression. I see what could have been, and it adds to my happiness that I’m here, instead.

As for the rest of the world – really, how different would it be if we all loved what we did all day?

I think it would be a world of a difference, which is why it’s my mission.

Being Boss is living what you love.

Being boss is about knowing what you want, and being unapologetic about it. It’s being who you are, nurturing your talents, and sharing them with the world. Being boss is about doing the work to get you to where you want to be, even when it’s hard, or when no one understands. Being boss owning it all, standing up for what you believe in, getting messy, and making big, beautiful things happen, even when the process is a hot mess.

Because life happens in that hot mess of a process. It’s big and beautiful there, too. But only when it’s something you believe in, when it’s something that you find joy in – day in and day out.

Being boss is living what you love, every day and in every way that you can. You have to build a life you love like it’s your job. Because it is.

An earnest will to show people how to live what you love is what I bring to the Being Boss mix. Helping creatives run businesses online is why I do at Indie Shopography. It’s the message I pick apart to share so that you can do work you enjoy that will allow you to live a life that you love.

A few books to inspire you:

Some episodes to help you get there:

Emily Thompson
Emily is the co-host of Being Boss Podcast, helping creative entrepreneurs learn how to run their own creative business with the tough love they need to hear to do the work. She also owns Indie Shopography, a web design and development studio helping creative entrepreneurs get paid for what they love to do online. You're already in the right place to listen to Being Boss podcast episodes and read more Being Boss blog posts, but you can also say hi online through the Being Boss Clubhouse.
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