My least favorite book of all time is Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. The author offers many interesting ideas, theories and researched concepts - but I don’t believe that most people with whom I’ve chatted about this actually READ the book. I think they read the TITLE, and decided it was a great idea.
So many people I’ve met are doing what they love, but not making a living at it. And as they get older, it’s getting harder and harder for them to feel good about their career choice, as the absence of a financial cushion gets more and more painful. But is financial stability and savings the same thing as success?
Or is it fulfillment, perhaps, that we should equate with success? With regard to your work, for example, is success somehow feeling that, when you get out of bed in the morning, you’re going to do something that excites you, something that feels like a real contribution to the world?
I’ve given speeches about the need for a balance among the personal, the professional, the emotional and the spiritual, and I equate that balance with success. You can do an honest accounting of your life along each of those four guidelines, asking yourself these questions:
From a personal point of view, do I feel successful? Is my family situation satisfying? Have I formed meaningful, sustaining friendships? Am I taking care of my health - am I fit and at a reasonable weight? And am I decently well rested and productive?
From a professional point of view, am I doing work that is interesting to me, and that pays me a reasonable amount of money? Am I growing in my job, able to do at least some new things, and am I still challenged?
From an emotional point of view, am I basically a happy person, and am I having any fun? Am I feeling as if I make emotional investments in other people, and they in me, and that my life is richer for these investments?
And from a spiritual point of view, do I have a framework for dealing with the “difficult patches” in life? Do I see myself connected to some larger spiritual reality, and am I able to lean into that belief system when life gets tough, feeling supported and reassured?
If you discover, as most of us do, that you’re successful in some of these four areas but not in others, don’t bemoan your bad luck; instead, consider focusing on the deficient areas, building them up to successful levels. People who strive for balance, rather than just dominance in one or another of these life areas, will take the time to examine these questions and their answers.