How to do what you love successfully

Enjoying your career is more important than earning a high salary or flashy title. Here's why now is the right time to switch to a job that makes you happy.

  • According to a 2010 study, happiness increases as one's income rises up to $75,000 annually, at which point greater income was not associated with increased happiness.
  • Having a job you love is more fulfilling and productive. It can even lead to a higher level of success.
  • In order to determine what job you will love, ask yourself a few questions about your dreams, goals and strengths.

You've heard the cliche that life is too short. You don't know what tomorrow brings or where you'll end up. So why waste your time in a career that doesn't make you happy?

Studies have shown that happy people tend to earn higher salaries, and it stands to reason that these high earners are happy – at least in part – because they have jobs they love.

Reasons to do what you love

Enjoying your career should be a priority over earning a high salary or flashy title. Here are four reasons to quit the job you hate and start do what you love for a living. [Ready to quit your job? Here's how to do it right.]

1. You'll feel more fulfilled.

Your job shouldn't just be a source of income. If you don't enjoy what you do, you'll end up missing out on your life.

"As the lines between working life and personal life blur, a job is as much about personal fulfillment and growth as it is about a paycheck," said Philip Ryan, senior vice president at Ipsos Strategy3. "People don't want to make widgets; they want to change lives, including their own."

Your career should make you feel good emotionally, both in and out of the office.

"A job that you love . gives you extra motivation to meet your goals, and when you do, the sense of accomplishment is outstanding," said Masanari Arai, co-founder and CEO of Kii Corporation.

You will carry and radiate that success wherever you go, helping yourself in other aspects of your life.

2. You'll be more productive.

It's important to feel motivated and inspired in your career. Without the drive to excel, your performance will lack passion and, in turn, your company may suffer. Productivity allows you to work in the most efficient manner, which makes room for downtime and encourages work-life balance.

"If you are passionate about your job, you are likely to take an active interest in learning every aspect of the business," said Patrice Rice, CEO and founder of Patrice & Associates. "This not only sets you on the path toward success, it also helps you get through the daily grind."

3. You'll inspire others.

Many people are too afraid to follow their dreams and do what they love. Think about what you would say to a friend or your loved one: Would you discourage them from doing what makes them happy simply because it's risky? When you do take that leap yourself, you become an inspiration to those individuals.

"As a mom who works, it is so important to me to be a role model for my young daughters," said Keli Coughlin, executive director of The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund. "While there might be busy weeks that require more time at the office, my girls know that I love my job, that it's meaningful to me, and that I am proud of the work. It is my hope that as my girls grow up, they are inspired to find a career that fulfills them and they are passionate about."

4. You'll succeed.

Michael Phillips, founder and CEO of Coconut's Fish Cafe, said that when you enjoy your job, it doesn't feel like work. "It makes it easier to get through the trials and tribulations of business ownership," he added.

You won't need someone to keep tabs on your work or motivate you to reach your full potential. You will do your best work because it's natural and exciting for you to do.

"When you love what you do, you are compelled to push against yourself," said Amir Zonozi, chief of strategy at Zoomph. "You want to be where you are challenging yourself, and you are competing with yourself in achieving your vision."

How to find a job you'll love

In order to determine what job you would enjoy, you have to ask yourself a few questions.

What did you want to be as a child?

While it might seem strange to go back to your childhood dreams, they might not be far off from what you would be happy doing. Whatever that might have been, the desire to do so had to come from somewhere.

Think back to that dream job. Even if you no longer want to have that job, it could help you figure out what drives you. For example, those who wanted to work in law enforcement might be driven by justice or helping people. If you wanted to be a teacher, maybe you liked school and working with kids. Tailor your motivators and your strengths to find that perfect position.

What would your friends or family say that you are good at?

Sometimes, talking to the people closest to you helps make more informed decisions. Ask your loved ones what they think your strengths are, and what job would allow you to use those skills. When you ask other people, you can gain additional perspective that you might not have considered. What you think your strengths are might not be what your friends and family think of first.

Who was your biggest role model growing up?

Similar to talking about your dream job as a child, you might think about who you idolized growing up. Did you love this person because they helped people? Did they have special skills that you wanted? Did you find similarities in their abilities with your own? By thinking about why you looked up to this person, you might find a job that would be good for you. Even if you did not consider it as a child, it might help uncover your true goals and desires.

How to do what you love successfully

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about [1] .

No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place [2] .

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time.

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

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I spent nearly 15 years working in nonprofit management, mostly in fundraising and marketing. I was good at it—people told me so all the time. It came easily to me, paid the bills, and was a very comfortable career path.

And yet, I simply didn’t love it.

Don’t get me wrong—it was okay. I learned a lot and worked with some great people. But I envied those folks who had a spring in their step on the way to work—people who absolutely loved what they did and couldn’t wait to roll up their sleeves and get busy on the job. I always wanted to be one of those people.

I finally went for it. I left my mediocre non-profit job and started my own corporate communications business. It’s been nearly a year, and while there have been many bumps along the way, I can now say with full confidence that I really love what I do.

As Confucius said, “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s great advice, but it’s not always that simple—it can be difficult to figure out what you love and how to parlay that into a viable business or job. So here’s a step-by-step plan for pinpointing your passions—and four ways to help you start turning them into your career.

1. Remember What You Loved as a Child

Often, our truest passions emerge in childhood, only to be squelched by real life pressures. So think about what you loved long before you had to worry about your career. Writing? Science experiments? Taking care of people? Getting back in touch with those instincts is an important step in finding your passion.

2. Eliminate Money from the Equation

If money were no object, what would you do? Would you travel? Spend all of your time with your children? Would you start a charitable organization to help abused women? Of course money can’t be ignored, but don’t let financial pressures dictate your choices. Your career should ultimately lead to financial security, but if financial security is the defining motivator, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing what you love.

3. Ask Your Friends for Feedback

Sometimes you’re just not the best judge of what makes you happy. Ask the people who know you intimately when you seem the happiest and what you do the most enthusiastically. Their answers may surprise you.

4. Read through a University Course Catalog

Find some quiet time and see which courses naturally interest you. What would you study if you could do it all over? What courses do you think you could teach? Which subjects scare you to death, and which ones do you find boring? Revisiting these possibilities will help point you in the direction of subjects and topics that you love.

5. Identify your Professional Hero

Of everyone you know, either personally or in your extended frame of reference (from your dermatologist to Oprah), whose career would you most want to emulate? Reach out to her to learn more about how she got to where she is, or, if that’s not possible, read everything you can about her career and life.

6. Think of What You Enjoy That You Also Do Well

After you’ve done these exercises, think about what you’ve learned. Focus on the things that you both enjoy and do well—whether you have a way with animals, make a killer lemon tart, or are crazy for origami—and write them down. Then, narrow the list to the top three or four things. Keep it handy, review it often, and use it as your jumping-off point when you’re plotting your career move.

Getting Started

Once you have a solid idea of what you love doing, it can still be a big leap to turn that passion into a viable career. Here are four easy steps to start making the change:

1. Talk to a Career Counselor

Career counselors help others figure out what they want for a living, and they’ll have insights and tools to help you zero in on the things you love most and do best, and also be able to offer ideas and guidance on how to find a career that best suits those passions. Take advantage of those resources.

2. Leverage Social Media

More than ever, we live in a social world. Once you’ve identified what it is that you love, get busy on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, connecting with people who share your areas of interest. Read blogs, join forums, and find out what it’s really like to do what you love.

3. Start Saving Money

Once you feel strongly that you want to start down this new path, start saving. A lot. The more money you have in the bank, the less finances will have to rule your decisions. And the less scary it will be if and when you do quit your job.

4. Just Do It

Ultimately, you won’t really know what you love to do unless you actually bite the bullet. Until you give it a go, it’s really just speculation. So, whether you take a small step like signing up for a class or you dive head-first into entrepreneurship, roll up your sleeves and do it. You’ll never know until you try.

I found my passion—and I’m grateful for that. But these tips are still serving me well as I go down this path, because it’s important that my work continues to be fueled by what I love most. And if that falls into place, I am hopeful that I’ll never have to work a day in my life.

How to do what you love successfully

I always say to people: do what you love, follow your bliss, listen to your heart and intuition, and know that by doing so, success will have no choice but to follow you wherever you go.

Of course, when you get stuck in a job you don’t love, hearing words like: doing what you love, success, passion, etc. can be quite irritating.

I guess that’s because most of us live with this impression that we don’t really have control over our lives; over what happens to us; over our happiness and unhappiness. And that we are victims of a world that pushes us around.

But in truth, we do have a choice. We do have the power and ability to shift our lives in the right direction.

I promised that I will write a post on how to do what you love and still be able to pay your bills, and I will like to share with you all, some things that I have learned over the years from great teachers, people like Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Lao Tzu, Rumi, Dale Carnegie, Wayne Dyer, and many, many others.

Doing what you love

First of all, I strongly believe… actually, I don’t believe, I know that we all have something unique and special about ourselves. What I have to share with the world, nobody else has.

But the same goes for you and all people.

What you have to offer no other person in the world has. These are our unique gifts and talents, the things we are born with. And if we choose to focus and work on them and with them, we will encounter success.

That’s how we achieve happiness, balance, and harmony in all areas of our lives.

This isn’t something I came up with overnight. No! It is a universal truth that every successful person who is doing what they love already know.

You want to be happy?

Work with love. Work with the things you are passionate about. And in doing so you will discover things about yourself you never dreamed were possible.

As I was writing this and as I was listening down these great teachers, all of these quotes started running through my mind, and I want to share with you a few of them, just so you can better understand how important it is to work with your passions, with your unique gifts and talents.

Proof that doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”

“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find the happiness that you had thought could never be yours.”

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

If right now, you are in a place where you aren’t exactly doing the things you love, or maybe, you can’t even get a job, you might want to pause for a while and start asking yourself a couple of questions, questions that might help you discover what is it that you really want, why is it that your life is the way it is, where would yooku like to be headed, how does the perfect life looks for you, and many other questions that might help you get back on the right track and start living the life that you really deserve.

Is where you are right now really that bad? How will things be different once you get from A to Z? Will you be happy then?

How do you know this is true?

Will you be willing to let go of some “security” for a while in order to start on your journey of self-discovery and self-mastery? Are you willing to take some risks?

These are some things you might consider that maybe you haven’t thought about, or maybe you were too afraid to do it because of the answered you might have got, but if you really want to make your dreams become reality, you will have to face them all.

I can’t tell you something that you don’t know already, I can’t tell you some secret formula that will help you do the things you love and still be able to pay the bills (and this is something that I don’t think you would want for yourself, to just survive, to pay your bills), but what I can tell you is this: Always choose to focus on the things you do want to attract in your life, always choose to focus on that which is positive rather than negative, and picture yourself as already having the life that you want for yourself, knowing that by doing so, you will attract all that you need in order to make your dreams become reality.

Also, what I have personally learned from my mentor, Wayne Dyer, is to always use these powerful words: I Am!

When you use these two powerful words “I am”, followed by any statement, visualizing it, and adding emotion and certainty to it, you become one with it and it becomes one with you. When you combine these two powerful words with emotion and images, the whole universe will conspire to make it happen.

I am doing what I love, and I love what I do.

I am living a prosperous life, etc.

I am discovering new and great talents every day, talents I didn’t even know I have…

Your mind does not know how to differentiate between what is real and what is not, and by repeating these words to yourself, you will attract the right people, the right ideas, the right circumstance, and all that you need in order to become the person you want to become.

So if you are you willing to start the voyage of discovery into unknown lands and rediscover yourself, if you are willing to experience some short-term pain and discomfort so that you can later experience real happiness, you will be able to do what you love and be successful at it.

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

How do we define success? There are many different tactics for how to be successful in life, but the strategy that works best for you may depend on your view of success itself. We often think of it as doing well at work or earning a high salary.

While professional accomplishments can be one piece of the puzzle, it leaves out many other important areas of life. Family, romantic relationships, academics, and athletics are just a few areas where people may strive for success. Your individual definition of what success is may vary, but many might define it as being fulfilled, happy, safe, healthy, and loved.

It is the ability to reach your goals in life, whatever those goals may be. So what can you do to boost your chances of achieving these things? What are some of the habits of successful people?

There is no single right way to be successful. What works for you might not work for someone else. There may not be a perfect combination of ingredients that can guarantee success, but there are some basic steps you can follow that can improve your chances of being successful in life, love, work, or whatever happens to be important to you.

Build a Growth Mindset

How to do what you love successfully

vgajic / Getty Images

Research by psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that there are two basic mindsets that influence how people think about themselves and their abilities: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.  

People who possess a fixed mindset believe that things such as intelligence are static and unchangeable. Those with a fixed mindset believe that success isn’t a result of hard work—it’s simply a consequence of innate talents.

Because they believe that such talents are something people are either born with or without, they tend to give up more easily in the face of a challenge. They quit when things do not come easily because they believe that they lack the inborn skill needed to excel.

Those who have a growth mindset, on the other hand, feel that they can change, grow, and learn through effort. People who believe that they are capable of growth are more likely to achieve success. When things get tough, they look for ways to improve their skills and keep working toward success.

People with a growth mindset believe that they have control of their life, while those with a fixed mindset believe that things are out of their control.

What can you do to build a growth mindset?

  • Believe that your efforts matter. Rather than thinking their abilities are fixed or stuck, people who have a growth mindset believe that effort and hard work can lead to meaningful growth.
  • Learn new skills. When faced with a challenge, they look for ways to develop the knowledge and skills that they need to overcome and triumph.
  • View failures as learning experiences. People with growth mindsets don't believe that failure is a reflection of their abilities. Instead, they view it as a valuable source of experience from which they can learn and improve. "That didn't work," they might think, "so this time I'll try something a little different."

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares an exercise that can help you introduce a healthy habit into your life or get rid of a bad habit that’s been holding you back.

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Are you doing work that you absolutely love? If not, why? There are as many answers to this question as the number of people who are asked. So, instead of focusing on the reasons why you are not doing work you absolutely love doing, let’s look at the reasons why you should.

1. Your health will improve.
Were you aware that the most common time for a heart attack to occur is on a Monday morning? That is definitely a reason to take notice. There are many stress-related illnesses, both physical and emotional, that can happen if you are doing work you do not enjoy. Your immune system is compromised if you are not happy, and you are more susceptible to all sorts of physical illnesses.

2. Your relationships will improve.
When you are unhappy in your work life, it will spill over into your relationships with your spouse, your kids, and your friends. When you are doing work that you love, you are no longer cynical, irritable, and impatient. People will want to be around you because of your positive attitude and happy disposition.

3. You will have more energy.
If you want to start jumping out of bed excited to start your day, try spending your day doing work that is meaningful and fulfilling. When you are doing something that completely resonates with you, you will have energy all day long and may even need less sleep.

4. Your confidence will improve.
When you are doing the work you were born for, you will be good at it. You will be using your natural talents, interests, and passions. Your confidence will soar because you are doing what comes natural to you.

5. You will enjoy life more.
When you are not happy with your work, your unhappiness and frustration will spill over into all areas of your life. Because it is difficult to compartmentalize unhappiness, all areas of your life will be affected by a negative work experience.

6. You will want to continue learning and growing.
If you are doing work you love, you will want to seek out opportunities for growth. You will want to get better and better. And the more growth and knowledge you gain, the more success will come your way.

7. Your motivation will soar.
If you are happy in your work, you will be self-motivated, which means you will be much more productive than someone who does not like what they are doing.

Because there are so many more benefits to doing work you love than to staying in unfulfilling, unsatisfying work, why don’t more people choose to do work they love? This is a question that I keep pondering. I was 40-something before I decided to take the plunge into doing the work that fit my personality, interests, and passions. Since I did, I have never looked back.

Are you ready to start doing work you love? If so, get your free video mini-course, which will help you discover your natural talents and passions in order to identify and create the work you were born to do.

Since some of the earliest writings from the world’s most prolific thought leaders the notion of doing what you love (seeking a career that fills you with passion) has been discussed at length. But with current research showing how many people are disengaged, dissatisfied, and frustrated at work, we wondered is it possible to flip the words—is it possible to simply love what you do—your current job?

Finding a job you love is age-old advice. Confucius probably has the best longstanding quote about “do what you love.” His words, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” have been repeated throughout history. Or consider Warren Buffett’s words, “Take a job that you love.” And let’s not forget the prolific thoughts of Maya Angelou who said “…pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Does anyone advocate the opposite approach—telling people to love what they do? We did not have to look far to find the advice of Steve Jobs who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Curious about our own experiences in the workplace, we began reviewing previous job titles we have had over the years. Between the two of us, we’ve held titles like: fire inspector, market research manager, disk jockey, product development director, wind surfing instructor, creative director, and the list goes on. As we discussed our roles, we couldn’t help but talk about the positions we loved, and those we knew weren’t the perfect fit. And apart from one position (we won’t admit who it was) of company mascot, which consisted of wearing a fuzzy cow suit and dancing down parade routes in the middle of summer, we loved each of the jobs we had (the cow suit was extremely hot, it was ridiculous, but pardon the pun, ‘Holy cow it was fun’).

Are we typical of most workers? Science actually gives us some insight.

The “find a job you love” advice listed above is easy to buy into for those who love their jobs. But for those who still don’t love their work, should they quit their current job and chase the dream of the job they would love? Or can people learn to find meaning and success in their current job? The answer is ‘yes.’ And here’s why.

Research shows that great work (award-winning work) is produced when people focus on doing something others love. The Great Work Study showed that 88% of projects that earned awards began with an employee asking their own version of the question, “What difference could I make that other people would love?”

Love Your Work: It’s All About Them, Not You

The same study, a combined effort between the O.C. Tanner Institute and Forbes Insights, found that all cases of work being studied shared a single intention—the work was focused on making a difference that someone else would love, instead of the person performing the work. They were focused on the recipient of their work—their customer, their colleague who depends on them, their leader who trusts in them, the community who expects their support, or others who benefit from their work.

Consider the example of Denise, the Safety and Environmental Affairs Manager at Subaru’s manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana—a facility, which produces approximately 180,000 vehicles per year. When Denise was assigned the daunting task of reducing 15 tons of landfill waste generated per day by the plant, she could have felt overlooked, and been relegated to garbage duty for the whole plant.

However, Denise thought about how Subaru owners would love knowing that their car was produced in a facility that didn’t generate landfill waste. She also thought about the pride her coworkers would feel if they succeeded in reducing this much waste. She told us she began by literally diving into her work, “dumpster diving,” as she described it, to analyze what kind of trash was being collected, hunting down where it came from, and learning why it was there.

Over the next two years, she engaged dozens, then hundreds, then all 3,700 coworkers in the project. She was surprised at how many began to feel a similar enthusiasm for eradicating landfill-destined waste from their work areas. Eventually, she and her team pulled it off. They had found a way to eliminate, recycle, or repurpose every bit of waste in the plant. The facility sends nothing to the landfill. Even the cafeteria waste is composted and provided to employees as a free benefit for their gardens.

Denise’s experience was a fascinating example of someone who found a way to love what she did. We doubt she would have ever chosen a job where she would spend two years of her life dealing with garbage. Yet, because she sought to make a difference others would love, she found her work enormously rewarding. She speaks with great pride that this 3.8 million square foot manufacturing facility sends less trash to the dump than the she puts out on her curb each week outside her home. For a little extra inspiration, we encourage you to watch Denise’s story in her own words.

The point is, loving your job is one thing—the activities and responsibilities you have on a day-to day basis. But loving the impact your job has on someone else is another. If you don’t totally hate your job but find you’re not that happy with what you are doing, try this one little simple activity: Go and see your work being received. See how it impacts someone else, another coworker, a customer, another team, or whoever benefits from your work.

Quite possibly, the best quote we found about loving your work is this:

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

Just because the whole world seems to obsess about romance during one day in the middle of February, doesn’t mean you have to. For happy singles, it’s a good excuse to eat chocolate.

But if Valentine’s Day has you thinking about finding love, the holiday could be a good motivation to start.

Our experts offered these 12 tips to boost your chances:

1. The ‘You’ll find love when you’re not looking’ approach may be wrong.

That’s like saying, “You’ll find a job when you’re least looking for it,” said Pepper Schwartz, a relationship expert and sociology professor at the University of Washington. It’s possible, but rarely happens.

“For the most part, people who wait for a job are unemployed,” she added. “For me, it’s just an excuse for being scared to go and put the effort in. Yes, it happens, but no, it’s not a good strategy.”

Schwartz does agree with the underlying sentiment of that saying: Don’t be desperate. Put the effort in to find someone, but don’t act like any breathing body will do.

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2. Go where people like the same things you like.

You can skip singles events if you don’t like them, but you have to go where you can meet people, Schwartz advised. Join social groups or meet-ups; be a worker bee in a cause you believe in; get involved in political parties. At the very least, you’re doing something you like and at the very best, you’ll meet somebody like-minded.

Bite the bullet and try online dating for a big pool of potential candidates, Schwartz added. If you’re already online, try a different dating site.

3. Look up from your phone.

Good men and good women are everywhere — if you’re looking, noted Bela Gandhi, a TODAY contributor and founder of the Smart Dating Academy in Chicago. She’s amazed people often complain they don’t meet anyone, but then go out and keep their heads down the entire time, staring at their devices.

Wherever you are, be present and look around the room to see who is looking at you. Make three seconds of eye contact with the cute stranger and smile — that’s an invitation for him to come over and talk to you, she advised.

4. Don’t seek romance, seek partnership.

Romance is for dates, and it’s fun to have on occasion in your marriage, but it’s partnership that will get you through the rough times, said Tina B. Tessina, a California psychotherapist also known as “Dr. Romance” and author of “How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together.”

“Don’t look for someone who sweeps you off your feet. That indicates a control freak, and you won’t like what happens later,” she advised. “Look for someone who likes give-and-take, who seeks your opinion and considers it, who cares about what you want, too.”

5. Happy people attract people.

Maybe the biggest issue in not being able to find love is that you’re not feeling good about yourself. Like yourself and like your life — really work on that, Schwartz advised. You have to be the person that you’d want to meet.

“If you’re not a happy, positive, self-confident person, you cut your chances of being in the right space for the right kind of person,” she said.

Go to a therapist to see why you’re depressed; get a trainer if you haven’t been exercising, and visit a nutritionist to begin eating right. If you’re shy, realize you could be less shy.

“The idea is that you have to train for everything, and you have to train for love as well,” Schwartz said. “You can work on yourself. You’re not a finished product unless you’re dead.”

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” ―Joseph Campbell

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” ―Steve Jobs

Confucius encouraged others to do what they love. Even Confucius sometimes missed the point. (Photo . [+] credit: Wikipedia)

Admit it. You live in a society that reveres the perspectives of Joseph Campbell and Steve Jobs. You’ve been told that, if you do what you love, the money will follow. You’ve been told that, if you find your bliss, world-changing success will magically come. You’ve been told that, if you’re not changing the world in dramatic ways, it’s because you’re too afraid to find your passion and follow it.

There are five reasons to end your personal guilt trip.

1. Most gifted people don’t have one overriding passion.

Dave Evans, who co-teaches a popular course on “Designing Your Life” at Stanford University, says, “We don’t start by asking ‘what’s your passion?’ The overwhelming majority of people don’t have a passion, or have multiple. What are all we to do?”

He also makes a distinction between finding work that can engage you and finding one lifelong pathway of bliss. “It’s much better to have an accurate awareness that you don’t know your passion than to have an erroneous confidence in a false passion,” he says, “which is a common result of people trying too hard to concoct one in order to be okay. The day a false passion is unmasked can be a pretty difficult one.”

2. The money just might not follow.

“I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing,” author Penelope Trunk observed a few years ago. And I am not getting paid for sex…. But I don’t sit up at night thinking, should I do writing or sex? Because career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself.”

Seth Godin once told the story of a gifted friend who took on a draining, grunt role at a record company because music was his bliss. Godin wondered, rightly, if this friend could have served himself and society better if he worked as a schoolteacher during the day and spent his spare time pursuing his passion.

3. The search for one’s passion can be a distraction from living in the present.

Fifty years before Steve Jobs told college graduates to ceaselessly search for their true passion, the great Trappist monk Thomas Merton observed, “The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.” Merton exhorted others instead to find meaning in an imperfect present moment.

“The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be . [+] artists or writers or actors in the movies,” Thomas Merton wrote in 1955. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations?” Merton asked. “He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation.’” In that way, he anticipated an entire generation of career advisers and bestselling job search books.

4. Your bliss can become hell once it becomes a job.

The maxim, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” has been attributed to Confucius. Problem is, even Confucius didn’t bat 1.000.

Many a person has loved movies but hated making movies. Living in Los Angeles, this applies to half my friends. Even relatively successful writers and actors end up dreading the deadlines and burdens imposed by a career that looks less glamorous in close-up than it did in long-shot.

5. Steve Jobs didn’t follow his own advice.

Author Cal Newport has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the do-what-you-love movement. In the case of Jobs, Newport points out that the tech legend did not follow his own advice. If he followed his overriding lifelong passion, Jobs would have become a great Zen teacher. Instead he meandered barefooted as a dilettante through early-adulthood, lacked follow-through, and only serendipitously stumbled into technology, management and marketing.

In Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he argues that following one’s passions can be a dead end. He argues that it’s better to identify which skills you have that could be rare and valuable in the workplace – and then to hone those skills till you have career capital that you can spend in the way you choose.

Leave for another day many other good reasons to not do what you love — including the realities of providing for a family, getting healthcare, or saving for old age. Stressing and straining to discern some enchanted pathway of bliss is a futile exercise for most of us. If you haven’t yet found that one overriding passion, you have permission to call off the search.