Jenni Osborn

Do what you love, not what you think you're supposed to do.

Do What You Love

It’s easy enough to say isn’t it, ‘do what you love’. And I don’t know about you but to me it also implies a defiant and belligerent ‘and nothing else’ on the end. How unrealistic, how tempting!

Increasingly though I am realising two things, one is that doing what you love is an important aspect of enjoying life and a privilege that is unattainable in some quarters. The second is that we actually all have to do things that we don’t love, figuring out how to do these things helps us grow. I’ve written before on feeling the fear and doing it anyway and there are many people who have encouraged us to step out of our comfort zone, which might look like only doing what we love, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Brene Brown.

Doing what you love may require courage, it may require some soul-searching, it almost certainly requires some self-awareness. The ability to do what you love is something that drives many who go freelance. When you are not beholden to an employer you have full freedom over which clients to work with and which to leave. You have freedom to really highlight what you are good at, and decide not to do the work which is more of a struggle. Well, that’s the dream anyway! Of course, the reality is that freelancing often does involve doing work that you don’t love, like keeping records and accounts or self-promotion. Increasingly there are apps and other freelancers filling the gaps, there are some amazing communities of freelancers out there.

But there isn’t a magic pill for doing what you love, even going freelance is not fool proof.  We must do some work in order to find the thing we love, often alongside someone else who can help us figure out what that might be. 18 months ago I decided to work with a business coach and this has completely transformed my work and my thinking about work. It’s easy to feel rather adrift in the freelance world, the pressure to earn money is high and so we can take on work that doesn’t feel like it fits simply in order to make money. In a working role this can also be true, we’ve taken on different projects or tasks because we’ve been asked to or

The same is true in other areas of life, we take things on that don’t really fit us, they feel like heavy burdens instead of life-giving activities. We buy clothes like this too, whole wardrobes and drawers stuffed full of clothing that we’ve accumulated over the years for a variety of reasons; maybe someone gave you a bundle of clothing they were getting rid of; maybe you bought something in a hurry for a work ‘do’; or maybe you’ve got a mish-mash of style of clothing because you’ve tried out different ‘looks’.

Ask yourself, does what I'm doing spark joy?

Declutter guru Marie Kondo has a simple rule for decluttering and I like it for many aspects of life:

Does it spark joy?

If yes, you keep it. If no, you get rid of it. Simple, eh?*

Maybe today is a good day to think about work, or your wardrobe, or another aspect of life, and consider, does this spark joy? If not, how can I ‘get rid’ or make significant changes so that I can do what I love. One change I would HIGHLY recommend is a coach or mentor to be a cheerleader, a listening ear, and a guide through this process. Use this page to contact me if you’re interested in mentoring with me.


*I’ll point out that I’ve distilled Marie Kondo’s whole philosophy right down to this main point. If you wanted to find out more about her then check out her webpage