Live What You Love


“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” – Christian (as played by Ewan McGregor), Moulin Rouge!

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. You don’t love what you’re doing and want to see if I have any insight into the topic…the title of the article brought you here.
  2. You used to love what you’re doing but are currently in doubt about it. You need a boost.
  3. You’re not loving your life and want to. Again, the title brought you here.

No matter which category you fall into, I hope by bringing you my own journey into “living what I love” will inspire you to aspire for the same.

(First and foremost, I wanted to let you, the reader, know that I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I’ll come back to why I hold this to be true shortly, but I just wanted to put that out there from the get-go.)

Marty & Me

Let me take you back to the year 2000 – where Y2K was being feared and Conan O’Brien’s late night predictions were all set to come to fruition. I was working at a large corporation, making decent money and a great benefits package. I had been there for five years, and had worked my way up (both by hard work and well-timed openings and a willingness to transfer) the ladder. I was blindly happy…the term ignorance is bliss definitely comes into play here. Then I had my eyes opened wide by a very good friend, Marty.

Marty also happened to be my roommate—he and I used to play silly improv games to mess with those who would come by our place. We had pictures of each other on our bedside tables—just because. When we’d show people our digs we’d make no reference to the photos—yet we knew when they caught the attention of those visiting. A little bit of awkwardness made for a lot of hilarity for the two of us. Also, I was a member of management and he wasn’t (we worked in different departments) which made for even better moments. When company was over he would act as if I was his boss at home and be at my beck and call. Marty was so committed to the act that he actually washed my car once when I asked him to while I had other managers over. You probably had to be there, but nonetheless, we were having a blast.

He knew I’d had a background in the creative arts growing up as well. He could see that there was a bigger part of me emerging every day to let loose and make good on my talents. That’s why he invited me to an improv rehearsal with one of the local comedy troupes in town. I went…and that’s when my new journey took its first step.

Moving Forward

Since that day I’ve produced a ton of comedy shows and one full-fledged musical, performed at comedy festivals, tried my hand at stand up comedy, launched a satirical website (which has since spun off into the workings of a one-man show and then some) and given writing a real shot. I also work at a job that keeps me firmly entrenched in the creative arts while taking advantage of the skills I honed working at my prior jobs.

While I owe Marty of mine a debt of gratitude—which I publicly recognize him for regularly, now most recently with this article—I have others to thank for helping me along this path. My wife’s unending support—through questionable risks and calculated ones—has been unwavering. You should all be so lucky to have a partner that has that kind of patience and understanding. Having a support system is integral in fostering a “life you love.” There are countless others who believed in me…family, friends and co-workers. There were some that were more vocal than others. I thank those people as well.

As mentioned in a recent article, I also owe myself some thanks. I took risks when some wouldn’t. I quit a high-paying job to follow my passions. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying it because if I can do it, you can do it. I am at this point in my life because of choices I made and didn’t make, roads I traveled and didn’t travel. Everything does happen for a reason—and you can shape that reason somewhat if you follow your calling. Simply follow your true self.

The First Step

Before you can be awesome at what you do, you’ve got to love what you do. Through the good times and bad, you’ve got to love it. The quote I mentioned at the top of the article references the love for another person – at least in its initial context. But it also pertains to learning to find something that you love to do, and it’ll love you back. Put forth your true self and you’ll find it. That takes courage and resolve, but if you tap into that you’ll find your way. You’ll learn.

We only get one shot at this life of ours – so to make it the best shot you can. Make sure you live what you love.

Otherwise, you’re not really living at all.

Did you make a shift that allowed you to live what you love and love what you live? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


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Mike Vardy an editor on Work Awesome. We could tell you where his personal productivity parody site, Eventualism and all of his other projects reside on the web, but you'd be best served going to Vardy.me and following the trail of virtual bread crumbs from there.
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Discussion

  1. Jenny on the 25th March

    Mike – Your antics with Marty made me laugh (esp. the picture bit)! Yes, I did actually quit a “career” in retail management to go back to school and become a designer. I’m making less money than I did before I graduated and that’s a bit frustrating, but I really do love what I do.Thanks for the reminder that it’s best to follow your passion in life; I wish I’d done that 10 years ago!

  2. Sandaruwani on the 26th March

    What your saying is so true….

    As a matter of fact i have done the same thing as you have mentioned. I used to be a poet, a creative freek with imagination to write what ever crosses my mind or eye.

    But when i was work at a firm i realized I am turning out be like a robo doing what others want me and not giving out my creative side….. After my father passed away…. I took abit of time out and thought about the life we lead…

    I was not happy inside & outside plus I was facking everyone i was happy…. Now i do a little graphic work or two from home while enjoying my life with doing what i like…… And top of all I AM REALLY HAPPY…..

    And my creative work blossoms everyday…..

    “We only get one shot at this life of ours – so to make it the best shot you can. Make sure you live what you love.
    Otherwise, you’re not really living at all.”

    Is so true………

    thanks to my mother & my hubby to be :)

  3. donald wilson on the 26th March

    This is such a good read. It’s just like positive reinforcement, when you hear that someone said ” I can do this, look I did it “. For me it took years to narrow it down, but I have come to realize that I can still earn a living and work my dream job ( albeit, I’m tired most of the time) but its what I WANT TO DO… I’ve been told that my skills are not good enough, the whole negative thing ( who of us does not have knives still piercing our backs )..still how true it is… when you love what you do, it love’s and lust you right back…

  4. benwah on the 26th March

    Great timing!
    On Monday I threw in the towel at my current pretty good paying/great benefits job, in search of a more fulfilling way to spend my daily life. Its been a year since I’ve really been thinking about making this move, and I’ve finally taken the steps to really start something new. I feel that this is absolutely the best thing for me right now. We’ll see how it turns out… I can’t think of any downside at this point.

  5. Brad on the 26th March

    You know, this blog post is inspiring and insightful and I’m sure there more “in” words I could use, but at the heart of this matter is having the balls to make the leap.

    I’m glad you were able to turn yours and your roommate’s inside jokes into a full-time job, but I’d venture a guess that for every one person who lives their dream, there are 99 others who tried and failed.

    I love reading blog posts like this, but there should be a disclaimer, like in those Subway commercials: “I realize my results aren’t typical.” That, to me, would make this more realistic.

    • Mike Vardy on the 26th March

      Brad,

      Thanks for the comment!

      You know, I wrestled with the idea of putting some sort of disclaimer in there, but decided against it. My conclusion was that by putting in “results may vary” (or something to that effect) is that it could create further second-guessing.

      It took me many years to even take the leap…often delayed because I was thinking that I couldn’t do better or was fine where I was. The problem for me was that my idea of typical wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted more.

      My path won’t be the same as anyone else’s – but I think taking the path is what everyone needs to do. The path varies, the results are just that…results.

    • Nikki on the 4th April

      I think it’s better to try and to fail rather than to not try at all. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret the things I didn’t do.

  6. Julius on the 26th March

    I believe that I love what I am presently doing. I just needed a bit of a boost as I’ve been involved in other tasks and am finding it a bit difficult to focus on my main work. Thanks for providing something to pick me up so to speak.

  7. Thera on the 26th March

    I fall in the fourth category: I was not brought here by the title, I just read every article regardless. :-)

  8. Alejandro Leijnse on the 6th April

    Wow… i read the post and imidiatly felt all involved into the situation i am going trough right now.

    I am a 5th year student of Communication and Multimedia Design in the Netherlands. I should have being graduated a year ago.

    Since i have began the process of re examination my stuff until i get it done, i have gone trough many ups and mostly downs.

    I am now at the point in which i have to begin the graduation project and thesis but i cant seem to find why da hell i wanna do this.

    On the other hand when i do Visual project, web sites and other stuff that has nothing to do with school, i love it and i am so much more creative…

    I have no idea what to do, but the post did clear up many things…

    Mike if you have any recommendation or any you think might be a good idea mate, please mail back.

    Thanks a lot

    Alejandro

  9. Anne on the 7th April

    I think we all need a Marty in our lives to remind us what we love.

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