He wants to be a hard news reporter. But it turns out that John’s real gift is writing columns about happenings in his own and others’ lives. Connecting with readers in a personal way brings him energy and enthusiasm. His editor calls his work “a national treasure” or, at least, a “regional” one (if I remember the line correctly.)
His full name is John Grogan. You might recognize him as the author of the bestselling book Marley & Me which was just released in movie form over the holidays.
The main story line is, of course, Marley the dog and his penchant for disobedience in pretty much any form one might imagine. Grogan’s dubbing him “the world’s worst dog” is a well-deserved rap in both book and movie.
But within the Marley movie is a small, easily-missed subplot about the author (played by Owen Wilson) and his struggle (perhaps that’s too strong a word) to pursue his life in his own way as a newspaper reporter, instead of using the gift that brings him, his wife (played by Jennifer Aniston), and thousands of readers much pleasure.
I would have missed the significance of this subplot had it not been for a colleague’s account of seeing the movie with her soon-to-be husband. “Like many of us,” she said, “We think we’re supposed to be doing one thing, when it’s another that we get so much personal and professional satisfaction from.”
It’s unfortunate that many of us feel the same way. For whatever reasons, we’re doing good work but we’d really love to do other things. In some cases, we may be completely dissatisfied with what we’re doing.
Can we make money doing what we really like to do?
Marsha Sinetar thinks so. She’s an organizational psychologist and author of the book Do What You Love the Money Will Follow. She poses four questions:
1. What is my real life’s purpose? (What do I want to have accomplished when I look back upon my life in old age?)
2. How, specifically would I have to think, speak and act in order to bring that purpose into being? (What habits would I need to cultivate and what would I have to delete from my present life to live out my true purpose?)
3. What activities—what actual daily choices, attitudes and concrete accomplishments—would I do if I lived as if my purpose meant something to me?
4. How would I live, on a day to day basis, if I respected myself, others, my life’s purpose?
So, what do you love to do?
Here’s another post that looks at this topic from a different angle.