My college pal Susan, who went through a stretch where she didn't like her job much, had a saying: "That's why they have to pay you. If it was fun, you'd do it for free."

I'd nod and egg her on. We all had bad days. Some of us had bad months or bad years.

After immersing myself in research for my new book, The Difference, I think we were both wrong. They—the employer, the client and the customer—have to pay you because what you're doing is of value. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be fun. Or stimulating. Or energizing. Or satisfying.

In a nutshell, here's what we know: People who are passionate about what they do reach financial comfort and wealth more often than those who are not.

That argues for doing one of two things. Finding your passion and pursuing it. Or becoming passionate about what you're already pursuing.

In a troubled economy like this one, the latter may be easier, but let's start with the former.

Doing What You Love

Step one is to identify those things that "might" be on your list and those things that most definitely are not. Asking yourself these questions can help you figure that out. 

1) If money was not an issue, what would you be doing?
2) When you go online or to the library, what do you most like to read about?
3) Think about the last few times you said to yourself: I'd like to do that sometime. What was "that?"
4) What do other people say you do particularly well?
5) What could you do that would bring back the kind of excitement you felt as a kid?

Once you've got a grip on what your passion is, you need to know two things: Can you do it better than it's being done right now, and can you make money doing it?

While you're figuring this out, don't quit your regular job. Instead, work on the new business on the side until you know if it's both grounded in reality and profitable.


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