I recently read Kae Tempest’s short, but highly-thoughtful book On Connection. Not only are they searingly honest about their shortcomings, but they also explain how important it is to just be ‘creative’ and find a connection, at the expense of all the other trappings that may or may not come with the process.
Then I read Lauren Pope’s excellent post celebrating the last 5 years of her business. In it, she says: “work has been a joy. This time last year, I said that my business feels like a gift I’m giving myself, and I still feel the same way… I love what I do”.
Although slightly different, both these examples echo the same point – that ‘the thing you do’ should be something you enjoy, rather than a way of making shedloads of money or acquiring oodles of fame.
Over the years of working, I’ve often heard people deride the notion that you should love your job – “it’s called ‘work’ for a reason”. But while it’s not always easy to find a job you really do adore, that shouldn’t be a reason not to try.
That’s why ‘purpose’ is such a big motivating factor. Kae Tempest never shies away from the fact that what she does can be and has been extraordinarily hard at times, but the joy of creating and performing, along with the connection they get from audiences, is motivation enough.
Similarly, Lauren says: “Most of all, I love that I get to help my clients make the world better, fairer, and more beautiful through content” – with few exceptions in the world, we all have to earn money to live, so why not find something you love doing.
Do the hustle
I often think about this, when it comes to people’s ‘side hustles’. As we hurtle through the 21st century, it seems that everyone now has something extra they do to earn money. For many, the hope it is that it will turn into their main business at some point.
I’m not down on the side hustle – I think if you can come up with something at which you’re proficient enough or an idea that’s different and it earns you extra, then more power to your elbow. The concern is that ‘fun’ side hustle will soon become something you hate, rather than love.
I started my ‘Content-ment’ email newsletter for fun in 2014. It was an extension of something I’d been doing internally at work for a year or so. I never intended it to make any money – it was my, ahem, gift to anyone who decided to sign up. Some people have been kind enough to ‘buy me a coffee’, but that’s really not the prime motivation.
And by not making it about the money, it means I feel no – or at least very little – guilt when I take a few weeks off. It also meant that when I moved from weekly to fortnightly publishing back in 2018 (after around 160 issues), no-one had paid to subscribe and had any right to complain.
That’s not to say there aren’t some weeks where I struggle to fit the newsletter in, but I’ve never fallen out of love with doing it. It continues to be a joy – and I know that, if I ever get to the point where it isn’t, I’ll know it’s time to call it a day.
So whether it’s your day job, your side hustle, or even your hobby, try to ‘love’ doing it (and ignore the killjoys).