I was really bummed when I heard HBO’s Vinyl was cancelled. Richie Finestra was a man I related to: he had true divination for musical talent in every genre from jazz to grunge. He hung out with Elvis and Andy Warhol. And in one episode, he preached the virtue of Maslow’s theories. He was the first guy outside of the advertising industry I ever heard cite this.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is simple psychology: it’s about what humans need, with basics like food, safety, and shelter in the lower parts of the pyramid and self-actualization at the very top. Maslow told us that human happiness is tied to doing what we love.
I find that bit of advice particularly useful for those of us in the ad, PR, and marketing fields, where we derive satisfaction from creative pursuits. I’ve never met Steve Jobs but I know he agrees. He famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it keep looking. Don’t settle.” It follows, then, that the most successful people are those who like what they do.
Following Your Passion
As children, we view work (homework, chores) as the polar opposite of fun (free time, play) but as adults our higher sense of needs emerges. We go after things that match our overriding passion, and thus work becomes a source of joy as well as income.
My main passion is writing, but I indulge in other creative activities like cooking, and I’ll admit to owning a dozen adult coloring books and four different sets of pencils. I also have a passion for animals. Sometimes people merge two passions. For example, I could become a doggie groomer that dyes terriers to look like Pikachu. If you can’t find a match for your true bliss, you might be able to build a career on a lesser passion. You might also take a main gig for money and a second for your love, like my friend the lawyer who acts in community theatre troupes in his off hours.
Find Out What Drives You
Not exactly sure of your passion? Go to Entrepreneur.com and read How to Find Your Passion in 5 Creative Exercises. One of their tips is to make a list of the people who are where you hope to be. Clarity.com is another place to gain insight, with a Passion Profile Quiz designed to gauge the relationship between your career and your passion in life. Even Cosmopolitan magazine has advice on finding career bliss these days.
Many of us need to figure out what to do next in this volatile employment market. Record label mogul Richie Finestra (who did what he loved at any cost) was actually a character played by Bobby Cannavale, who’s now out of work. As Bobby looks for a new job, I’m certain it will tied to his passion for the stage.
Jeri Dayle is a freelance writer. Journalistically she has specialized in parenting topics, as a marketing copywriter she has focused on employee/employer communications, writing direct mail, ads, and all types of web content. She is ecstatic to have achieved her What I Want to Do When I Grow Up goal.
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