If you’re going to make a living doing what you love, you’re going to need to be paid. Otherwise it’s just a hobby – maybe one you absolutely love, but a hobby nonetheless. My friend and guide Nick Williams says there’s a difference between working for pay, and getting paid to work. Working for pay is, literally, just that – the pay is the only reason for the work; if you weren’t getting paid for it, you simply wouldn’t do it. All you’re doing when you work for pay is swapping time for money.
Sometimes in life, we have to swap our time for the money we need to pay our bills. The trick is not to get sucked into the idea that getting money is enough, that so long as we work hard and get enough pay, everything will be alright. I can tell you from bitter experience, that’s a good way to damage both your physical and mental health, if you can’t find a way to enjoy the work you’re doing for pay.
Getting paid to work is a whole different proposition – the reason for doing the work is because it’s your passion, your purpose, your mission. Not the money. The money is what’s going to allow you to carry on with the work – what Nick calls ‘the work we were born to do’. It’s what will allow you to continue to bring your special skills and talents to the world. It’s what will allow you to lead a fulfilled and happy life.
A rather bizarre quirk of human nature (in most people, anyway) is that we seem to feel a need to have made some kind of sacrifice in exchange for payment. We seem to have an issue with getting paid for something that came easy and that we enjoyed. If wealth or reward doesn’t come from suffering, it feels somehow immoral or unethical. But how daft is that? The time when we’re contributing the most – to our employers, to our clients, to the world – is exactly when we’re doing what comes naturally to us, that’s effortless, that’s a joyful experience. So it makes sense that it should also be what we get paid the most for – highest value, highest pay!
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