Dr. Adam Sheck rebuts the famous ’80s book that promises you can making a living doing what you love.
Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow is the name of a popular 1980s book by Marsha Sinetar.
To that, I say, “Bullshit!”
As a psychologist and a man in his fifties, I’m annoyed and frustrated that people have been bamboozled into believing that if they think hard enough, imagine long enough, and paint a vivid picture that they can have success.
I actually do what I love and the money is pretty damned good. Yet this doesn’t happen for everyone, nor is it in everyone’s best interest for it to happen.
We all have a unique part to play in life, and we are equally important, regardless of the appearance or apparent size of our lives. Just as in the hypothetical concept of reincarnation, not everybody was Cleopatra or Marc Antony.
My belief and experience is this: “Do what you’re good at and the money will follow.” Money is an energy exchange predicated upon the perception of value and service. You provide a service or give me something I value and I will give you money.
As an engineer turned psychologist I might be more pragmatic than some, even though I appreciate and agree with the concept that thought is creative. The execution and follow-through are also important and they are often the difference between fantasy results and genuine ones.
Though metaphysically informed, I’m not “airy fairy” about it. I own that there is much, much more in this world than the physical and that when we align with it, we can live our highest purpose, our mission, our psycho-spiritual journey.
But thinking isn’t enough, affirming isn’t enough, psychological insight isn’t enough for change and growth. Thought is absolutely important, yet action is necessary as well, at least for those of us who aren’t avatars or enlightened masters. I know that electricity works, yet I still have to get up and flip the switch to make my lights turn on (unless my iPhone has an app for that).
Back to the “do what you love” phrase. I absolutely love to sing. I do it in the shower, I’ve done it in the halls of my workplace, I’ve even sung parts of Broadway songs to my clients to make a point during a session (yes, this is my dirty secret, I’m a straight man from Brooklyn, living in Los Angeles and I love Broadway songs).
Unfortunately, my singing is not my gift, nor my calling. I could sing and perform and love it until the cows come home, but I will never make money at singing—unless somebody paid me not to sing.
On the other hand, I was really gifted as an engineer and successful at it. At the age of 25, I was project manager of a $20-million dollar engineering contract, and that’s in pre-inflation dollars.
I had no passion for it and in fact, I hated engineering and myself for continuing to do it. Love and passion had nothing to do with my success. Talent did.
Ultimately, I was guided into the field of psychology, which I absolutely love. It feeds my soul and pays my bills. I feel very fortunate to live where calling and career coincide.
It is great to aspire towards this merger, yet it won’t happen for everyone. For some, their vocation and their avocation will be different.
This could be for many reasons, including priorities and choices, current life circumstances, timing and deep rooted negative belief systems. My gift is to support people in moving through their blocks and barriers, yet not everyone wants to work that hard.
That is the bottom line for me: hard work. To truly connect to your calling, to align it with your gifts and talents, to be consistent with your values and with your passion takes effort. Living your mission, truly owning it takes work. It’s not a free lunch.
Perhaps this Brooklyn Jew has a Puritan work ethic someplace, but I think that I’m actually pretty lazy. If something is fun, I will do it and I will work my ass off, but it feels like play.
I work hard at my mission and most often the days flow and I love it. Sometimes it sucks, especially paperwork, but whatever it feels like in the moment, it happens because I take action, not because I sit and think deeply about it. Manifestation takes thought as well as follow-through.
Psychologically, it is a very young ego state that continues to perpetuate the magical thinking of “do what you love, the money will follow.” Yes it can happen, yet there are a few more steps involved and they aren’t always about fun and love.
My mission is to support and mentor you in your mission and have fun along the way. Sharing my perspective and experience is part of that.
As always, my truth isn’t the final word or the truth. I’m interested in your truth and comments, and invite you to share them here.