It’s been said that passion breeds success, but how, exactly, do you zero in on what you love—and make a living at? Start here.
In theory, it’s good to do what makes you happy. But finding what spurs you—what you wake up thinking about, or what you would gladly do for free—may take some digging and distilling. Forging my own successful yet unconventional career as a chef, author, and entrepreneur took listening to my gut and, even tougher, trusting it. These four valuable tips can help speed up the process for you.
Put aside practical concerns.
What’s stirring in your soul can be blocked by thoughts about, say, what salary you can earn for the work. To unearth what you really want to do, quiet your mind and tune in to your heart. Pose queries such as “At the end of my life, what am I going to wish I’d done?” I moved to Maui, sight unseen, and lived there for 15 years because it was my answer to “If I could live anywhere, where would I live?”
Identify granular interests.
If it’s not realistic to give up a regular paycheck for a passion project right now, chances are there are aspects of your current job that intersect with what moves you. Figure out what you dig in your day-to-day and focus on that. For example, if you’re interested in social responsibility, scout a nonprofit that is related to your work and create a proposal for how an affiliation would benefit your company.
Figure out what you don’t love.
Be honest about where your true talents lie. One critical lesson I learned: As a restaurant owner, I was capable of sourcing competitively priced ingredients, but that wasn’t the best or most joyful use of my time. So I enlisted someone to handle that duty while I focused on what really inspired me—developing new recipes.
Be true to you.
Don’t let what others say override your inner counsel. At many points, I was told that there wasn’t enough interest in the things I wanted to pursue to make them successful. I opened one of the country’s first raw-food restaurants in Maui in 1996, which was way ahead of the curve. I also became deeply interested in environmentally responsible practices well before they became mainstream. Trusting my instincts above anyone else’s enabled me to be a pioneer in the sustainable-food movement, proving that authenticity is the most valuable commodity of all.
Renée Loux has been a trendsetter in the environmental and sustainable food movements for more than 17 yea rs. As an author, chef, restaurateur, television personality, eco-consultant, monthly columnist for Women’s Health Magazine, and founder of the Food First Institute in collaboration with the University of Hawaii and the Maui Culinary Academy, she has been a leading expert in the field. She founded one of America’s first raw food restaurants, the Raw Experience, in 1996, was a founding partner of Mala Wailea and has published the Gourmand Award-winning The Balanced Plate, and Living Cuisine, The Whole Green Catalog, and Easy Green Living. Loux has been teaching at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC since 1999 and has worked with and along side of some of the best and brightest figures in Hollywood and Culinary Arts. As the host of the TV show It’s Easy Being Green, she has appeared on the Food Network, HG TV and the Cooking Channel as well as a frequent green-expert and organic chef on various TV shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, Extra, Insider Edition and Fox News. Visit Renée at www.reneeloux.com.