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Do Something You Love or Something You’re Good At

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on October 8, 2018 12:55

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Passion doesn't always lead to success and success doesn't always lead to feelings of fulfillment. Finding the balance of what you love to do and how to succeed at it can be tricky.

A friend and I were talking about career choices and she asked me why I left my career in insurance and financial services. After all, it was a good career that I was very good at, made good money at and felt accomplishment in. Asking why I would leave raised an interesting discussion.

This got me thinking about our choices and pursuits when we are young and just starting out in life. We often find ourselves starting a career path based on skills and commendations. It’s a simple reward-based scenario. In my case, I was good with people, had exceptional telemarketing skills, and a high level of integrity to do the right thing for people. When I did things well, I got accolades, promotions and simply made more money.

It was easy to think that I was pursuing something I was passionate about. But was I really? Now that I’m a bit older and have explored going back into insurance and financial services after a successful freelance career, I realized that the passion to do something you love isn’t directly correlated to things you are good at. 

That isn’t to say that you can do something you are good at and be passionate about pursuing it. But it does mean that if you do something merely because you are good at it, you might find yourself one day wondering why you are sitting in that chair. On the other side of the coin, there are many people passionately pursuing what they love without reaping success. 

Today is my son’s 16th birthday. He is one step closer to stepping into the world as a man. As a mom, it can be difficult to not provide direction to our children. But what is the fine line between saying do what you love or do what you’re good at? We want our children to live productive lives, earn a good living and feel fulfilled.

I know I’m guilty of dissuading some of my son’s ambitions because I don’t understand how he can make a living doing them. Not much different than the many who questioned my transition from a very successful career in financial services to a career as a freelance writer. Yet I know I have to give my son the benefit of the doubt that he can find a way to succeed. This is where I think the gap in success often falls: we judge the passion without stopping to think about the plan for success.

After all, you can give someone an actionable plan to become an attorney. But when the dreams and passions are less tangible in terms of career options, it takes a lot more work to build a plan that will lead to success. Taking that time is well worth it if it means we can help our children find what they love and learn to be good at it.

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on October 8, 2018 12:55

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