A lot of motivational speakers will tell you to do what you love. Some make it seem like it’s just that simple step towards being “happy.” Others don’t sugar-coat it as much, reminding their audiences that even if you’re doing what you love, you often have to work incredibly hard to get what you want.
Either way, they’re only telling you half the story. It’s not enough to do what you love. You also have to do something constructive–something that contributes to society. By contribute, though, I don’t necessarily mean giving back or doing something that’s socially responsible (though those are certainly worthy pursuits).
What I mean is that you have to do something that produces something tangible. For example, I love drinking scotch. I don’t think I could make a very good living doing it, and I don’t think that drinking scotch is very productive (though certainly it is entertaining, at least to me). There is no tangible product created when I drink scotch (unless I drink too much, and I doubt anyone wants to touch that).
This begs the question: What is tangible in public relations? Some would argue that everything in PR intangible. But I drive traffic to websites. I help businesses convert visitors to customers. I help businesses engage directly with their audiences, and indirectly through blogs and mainstream media. For some of what I do, I think it’s a real challenge to show what tangible effects my company’s efforts have. There are ways to measure success, not all of it expressible as a tangible, monetary value.
Throughout my career, I’ve rarely chased money. Whenever I’ve chased money, I’ve only found myself coming up dissatisfied (more on that another time). While I’ve chased things I enjoy doing, I have more often chased things I want to do. The money has always come once I’ve figured out what it is I want. And sometimes, what I want is not what I love. And vice-versa.
For example, I don’t always want to work long hours, but I often do in order to get everything on my plate done. I certainly don’t love working long hours, but almost always, once a project wraps up, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
And that is something that I both want and love.