I had a really inspiring weekend. An inspiring bus ride down to NYC and back (16 hours in all!), an inspiring time with some of my friends, and an inspiring time meeting Steve and Erin Pavlina along with a bunch of other like-minded souls – which was the ostensible reason for my trip. I think that Steve and Erin’s message actually ends up being very simple: do what you love to do – that which feels like it’s in alignment with your life’s purpose, contribute value to the world, and the world will contribute value back to you. You’d think it would be easy to figure out what you “love to do” and what’s “in alignment with your life’s purpose” – but that isn’t always the case. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since you felt passionate about what you were doing that you forgot what it even feels like? Maybe it’s because you WERE following your dream, but something came up (like an injury, for instance) that stopped you in your tracks, and now you need a new dream to follow? Whatever the reason, is there a surefire way to figure out what you love, something that’s in alignment with your life’s purpose? You betcha!
In the Law of Attraction and the Best Days of Your Life, I talked about how the memory of a past event where you felt happy/enthusiastic/passionate was useful in summoning up the kind of feelings that you’d want the Law of Attraction to amplify. Take a moment and think of something from your past, a time when you just felt so amazingly good, happy, inspired. Really picture yourself back in that moment, and get into the way that you felt at that time. You should feel the feeling, an actual physical sensation along with some of the emotion from that moment. Now, when you’re trying to figure out what you “love to do” – that’s the feeling you’re after. You want to feel like THAT when you’re doing what you love to do, and you want hints of that feeling when you just think about doing that particular thing.
So when you consider whether or not something is “what you love to do” and you don’t feel “that feeling” – what does that tell you? I see a couple of possibilities:
- You don’t love to do that thing. Just face it!
- There’s a sliver of alignment in what you’re considering. Try to identify the aspect that is, in fact, in alignment with what you love to do. As you think about the different components of that thing, notice how you’re feeling – when you find the one or two that resonate with you, you will actually FEEL something, an emotion that compels you to take notice. Take a moment and let it sink in, because you just unearthed an important component or two of “what you love to do”.
Here’s a recent example from my own life. In our attempts to develop some additional income streams, my wife and I have been considering opening an organic donut business here in Portland, Maine. One thing after another lined up, so much so that the universe seemed to be sending us a message, something like “MAKE DONUTS!”. And yet we still were uneasy about the decision, not because of any risk involved in starting up the new business, but because something was gnawing away at us – the realization that when we thought about getting up every morning to make donuts and when we thought about living/breathing donuts for the time that it took to get the business really rocking, we didn’t feel that spark of joy, the spark of doing “what you love to do”. And yet something about donuts was calling us: what was it?
Upon further consideration we noticed a few key elements. These were the things that, when we thought about them, caused us to feel “that feeling” that I was talking about earlier.
- Social Contact with other people – love it!
- Entrepreneurship – being our own boss – absolutely!.
- Working with a friend to bring about our mutual success – definitely dig that!
So those are components that we would look for as we contemplate other ways to open up new streams of income. But when it came down to the “making/living/breathing donuts” part, which would represent a significant amount of time and energy, we weren’t feeling it, and that made the decision easy for us. OK, maybe not easy. It wasn’t an easy decision. However, we know that we want to spend our time doing things that make us feel the fire of joy and passion in our lives, so as soon as we recognized that the central aspect of this new potential occupation was NOT something that gave us that feeling, we knew what choice we had to make.
You can spend your whole life making safe choices, the choices that don’t exactly feel right, that don’t make you enthusiastic for living, but that almost certainly will put food on the table. As we talked about in Law of Attraction: The Compound Interest of Your Life, whatever you choose will most certainly grow. So why not make choices that are truly rooted in what makes you feel excited to be alive? Those choices will grow as surely as the “safe” choices grow – and you will find yourself immersed in doing what you love, smiling back on the time when you found it to be so confusing.
Another obstacle that we face, I think, is when we have a clue about things that we love, but we have no idea how those things are going to generate income for us. It may simply be that the right opportunity to apply “what you love” hasn’t come about yet. So what do you do in that situation?
In order for your opportunities to grow, you have to be giving some energy to what you love to do. Giving energy to things that you love to do will actually create more opportunities to do other things that you love to do – perhaps things that aren’t even part of your current frame of reference. So pick something and give it at least a little bit of dedicated time – especially if you’re in a situation where you feel like you’re unable to devote any time to the things that are most important to you. You need to do more than stoke the flames, you have to actually feed the fire. As the “compound interest” kicks in, your golden opportunity WILL arrive – you just need to be watching for it. If the universe is watching (and I’m pretty sure it is), then it will start sending opportunity upon opportunity your way as soon as it sees that you’re on the path of doing what you love.
ha…now that I know someone in the neighborhood is feeling entrepreneurial, I know what direction to send my subliminal thought waves….organic bakeshop with fair-trade coffee at westgate….ooorgaaanic baaakeshop with faaaaaair trade coooooffeeeee at westgaaaaaaaaaate
The other day we were speculating that they’re just waiting for all the businesses over there to cave so that they can tear the place down – but I just saw for rent signs in all the vacant storefronts. It did get me a-thinking. But we’d need some serious help to overcome those drop ceilings and mauve carpets.
I have a *You* great idea. We should all *should* get together, and talk *do* about how to revitalize *it!* that fading megalith.
For some reason, I’m feeling like _I_ should do it! But alas, the sunk costs on the graduate school thing suggest “entrepreneurialize your dissertation first, friend.”
Agreed that the ambiance is more rec-room than Starbucks-esque. Anyway, good luck finding the ting.
Ping pong palace?
Tonya and I just walked over there, and happened to meet one of the mall developers, who asked us for suggestions about what should be there. He was serious – so…e-mail ’em my way if you got ’em. Apparently the organic bakery is out of the question…but fair-trade coffee shop – if we could convince Coffee by Design that would be killah.