Don’t do what you love

I bet this sounds a bit counter intuitive coming from a person who dropped everything to do just that, but maybe it’s not.

Having lived the dream, worked it, nearly slowed to a crawl full of resistance in it, I can easily say that this self help advice, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is total bullshit.

I love creating art, don’t get me wrong, but right now, my art creation has been on hold for a few months while I end my marriage and move the kids and I to new digs. And, let me tell you, it was a relief to stop painting in the beginning. Pressure off.

For the first time in three years, my art didn’t have to work. It didn’t have to be created. It didn’t stare at me and demand to be seen, shown and sold. It was quiet.

And I jumped back into freelancing. Web sites. Marketing. Consulting. Even book illustration.


But what I found in doing that was surprising: joy and excitement.

I’ve been freelancing for 18 years before I put it on hold and let me tell you, I never found joy and excitement in most of my projects. Towards the last few years, it was resentment, dread and exhaustion.

I was burned out and dreaming of a life full of art and peace and joy. The greener grass was most definitely on the other side of the fence from where I was standing.

The funny thing is, taking a break from freelancing allowed me to recover and find my joy again doing the stuff I’m good at. The stuff that fires up my brain and sets the gears turning.

It may not be my calling like creating art is, but damn I love doing things that I’m good at.

So I want to pop this idea into your head that maybe doing the thing you love, putting the pressure on it to perform, isn’t a great path to walk on. That outside of your work, maybe you need to have the thing that you love to look forward to.

That maybe doing what you’re good at is more important, and more satisfying, than doing what you love.