Entrepreneur and social media sensation Gary Vaynerchuk and nine others tell us how they found their calling and how you can find yours.
9 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Research suggests that more than half of us are unhappy at work. From lawyers to brokers and CEOs, these Advisors in The Oracles are proof it’s possible to be successful and have a job you love. Here, they share how they found work that fulfills them — and how you can too.
1. Stop doing things you hate.
I found what I was meant to do because I know who I am and ignore everyone else. Listen to yourself and stop doing stuff you hate. Don’t take a bad job because it pays more, and don’t go to college just to meet others’ expectations.
If you don’t know what you want to do, try as many experiences as possible. Don’t play it safe; do things that make you uncomfortable. To discover your passion, start by asking those around you about your skills and weaknesses, then triple down on what you’re good at. You’re not lost; you’re just early in the process. So stop judging yourself and be patient. Life is long.
When you find your dream, stick with it, even when it’s hard. Have the audacity to believe that you can do what you love for the rest of your life — because you can. —Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia (700+ employees with over $100 million in annual revenue), five-time NYT best-selling author of “Crushing It!”
2. Audit yourself.
Maybe you’ve felt negotiable in life, optional, or even disposable — family life, location, socioeconomic status, race, and gender all shape your self-worth. I was abandoned by a father who was in prison and raised by a mother who deeply loved me but worked three jobs. So I spent my younger years seeking validation that I mattered.
If you’re in conflict with yourself, how can you discover meaningful work? Ask yourself: Am I authentically reflecting my gifts? Do I live my purpose or seek purpose in things outside me? How am I mastering my greatness and contribution to the world?
I found my calling by exploring these questions so often that the fear of failure faded. I began to trust myself. I learned to fail with speed and agility, understanding that failure is temporary but mandatory and is your best feedback in the personal growth process.
Remember: Meaningful work isn’t about your role or money; it’s about your self-belief. Most people resist trial and error, but getting lost is part of the process. Tune your internal navigation system to personal accountability, stay true to your passions, and live the grandest version of you. That’s the fastest path to your highest calling and a life that loves you back. —Allyson Byrd, renowned sales trainer and founder of The Church of Profit Acceleration, who generated $13+ million in sales revenue for clients in 2018; connect with Allyson on Instagram
3. Bring value.
Glennda Baker LeBlanc
Finding meaningful work doesn’t have to be your proverbial needle in a haystack. But you may not know right away when you’ve found your life’s passion. For me, the key to success is being able to bring value while feeling valued.
After 26 years in real estate, I’m much more passionate today than when I started. I get fulfillment from helping clients find their homes for life, which is usually their largest investment. They depend on me to bring expertise and advice to their life savings. I love when I get to make a mark on their lives. —Glennda Baker LeBlanc, associate broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; top 1 percent of all agents nationwide, with more than half a billion in career sales; connect with Glennda on Facebook and Twitter
4. Tinker with ideas on the side.
Several years ago, I spent my off-hours building a sprinkler toy for fun. My boys loved it, and neighbors started flocking over. When I decided to sell tutorials on how to build them online, I discovered there wasn’t an easy, point-and-click platform to sell online training. So I started building one. I didn’t intend on the project taking away from my day job, but following my interests and uncovering a problem led me to create a company.
Unhappiness at work doesn’t necessarily mean you need to begin the job hunt. Instead, spend your off-time tinkering with your passions or ideas. This may give you clarity to fall in love with your job again or lead to an entirely new opportunity. —Kenny Rueter, CEO and co-founder of Kajabi
5. Try different things.
I’ve been working since I was 13 years old. Back then, my motivation was money. As I got older, I realized money wasn’t enough to keep me engaged in my job. It took a while to find something that I was good at and would make money. I had to patiently try different things.
Working only for money will not make you happy in the long run. If you want to find meaningful work, ask yourself what you would do even if you didn’t get paid. Then find out who needs that service. It takes time to try enough things until you find what makes you happy. But in the end, it pays off. —Raul Villacis, CEO of The Next Level Experience, an organization that empowers high-level businessmen to become better leaders; connect with Raul on Facebook and Instagram
6. Ask how you can serve others.
When I worked at a bank, my friends with executive jobs could afford luxuries, yet they rarely smiled and often complained about not having enough time to spend with loved ones. I knew then that exchanging time for money was not for me. When my now business partner, Lewis Mocker, introduced me to day trading, I became obsessed with mastering it because of the lifestyle it would provide. Although I quickly became successful, something was missing — a feeling of contribution.
If you reach this point, ask yourself how you can serve others. Without a doubt, I know I’m here on Earth to be a motivator and guide for those who, like me, refuse to settle for less than they deserve. Pay attention to what truly inspires you. What gives you a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose? What makes you feel alive? Build a life around serving others in areas that you truly value. —Amy Sangster, co-founder of Infinite Prosperity; learn to invest, trade, and build wealth with Infinite Prosperity’s free lessons
7. Do what excites you.
I played with metal construction sets as a kid. I’d imagine some new machine, then try to build it. When I got the result I wanted after many iterations, I was incredibly excited. Imagination and delivery became my motivation. As an adult, I applied this approach to programming and products by creating complex algorithms to solve tasks. After days of hard work, I was extremely happy when it worked. I realized this engineering approach drives me.
What drives you? Look for this kind of excitement in your everyday life. Apply a results-driven approach to solve complex tasks in your life, and notice what brings you joy when it works. —Oleksandr Kosovan, founder and CEO of Setapp and MacPaw, whose flagship app CleanMyMac has exceeded 5 million users; co-founder and partner at SMRK VC Fund
8. Enact changes that make you and others happy.
You need happiness to be productive and content. Step back and really look into your situation if you’re unhappy with work. Identify what is making you unhappy and what you need to do to solve it. Most importantly, be willing to take risks and make significant changes.
In my work, I focus on transparency and creating partnerships. Our clients rely on us for solutions, and work becomes meaningful when you help others better themselves. We’re happy when our clients are happy, and we don’t stop until we hear it in their voices. —Jason Hall, author, founder and CEO of Five Channels; generating $30+ million in sales revenue for clients in 2018
9. Pay attention to your thoughts.
I found my calling by necessity. I was a small-business owner, and traditional advertising and marketing methods weren’t working anymore. I learned website development and SEO to grow my business and really enjoyed the work, so I started doing it full time.
Pay attention to your thoughts and actions. The subconscious mind is good at reliving important events and thoughts, but they’re easy to miss if you don’t pay attention. These thoughts will help guide you to your true calling. —Guy Sheetrit, CEO of Over The Top SEO, who provides customized SEO marketing solutions for e-commerce, local, and Fortune 500 companies
10. Allow your calling to find you.
Nafisé Nina Hodjat
I was practicing civil litigation when some friends got into trouble with the law. They insisted I handle their cases, even though criminal law was outside of my wheelhouse. It turns out that criminal defense is my passion, which I would’ve never known had I not fallen into it.
That said, there are unreasonable expectations to “live your passion,” which can lead to disappointment. Instead, look at your life as an amazing gift and a beautiful adventure. When you love your life, stay in gratitude, and do your best, great things show up on your path. Have faith in yourself and allow your calling to find you. —Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm
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