Photographer on the field.

What is your dream job? Do you want to have your own cooking show on TV? Do you want to be a professional sports photographer like the guy above? Do you want to play video games for a living? Do you want to travel the world and share your experiences with everyone?

These are all great ambitions and, with a little luck on your side, they’re all possible to achieve. However, there is one critical lesson that you have to recognize before you embark on any of these possible journeys: no matter what your dream job may be, it is still a job. This means that you still have to put in hours of blood, sweat and tears. This means that despite all the positives, you are still going to face many challenges. This means that you still have to work.

But you have the opportunity to dictate the terms of how, when and where you work.

And the Money Will Follow?

We’ve all heard the old saying before: do what you love and the money will follow. This may have some truth in the ideal world, but we live in the real world where bills have to be paid and even the rarest of jobs isn’t all about rainbows and unicorns. If you do what you love, what it means is that the high points make the low points worthwhile. The high points motivate you and keep you in the game.

Jerry Seinfeld once said:

“I chose comedy because I thought it seemed much easier than work. And more fun than work. It turned out to be much harder than work, and not easy at all. But you still don’t have to ever really grow up. And that’s the best thing of all.”

The grass will always look greener on the other side. Sure, Seinfeld is incredibly wealthy now and I’m sure he’s living the good life, but we easily forget the years of turmoil he surely had to endure on the stand-up circuit before he got his big break. And for every Jerry Seinfeld, there are countless comedians who never “make it.”

We may think it’s easy to be a professional athlete, making millions of dollars playing the game that they love, but what about the years of training, the countless early morning practices, and the incessant invasion of privacy by paparazzi?

Carve Your Own Path

Beyond the Margins: An Indispensable Guide for First-Time Freelancers, Designers and Other Work-From-Home Professionals, by Michael Kwan

It’s not all bad, of course, and that’s why we choose to chase our dreams. That’s a core lesson that I discuss in Beyond the Margins, reminding readers that while freelancing may not be easy, it can certainly be very rewarding. I enjoy being self-directed. I enjoy setting my own hours. I enjoy that sense of ownership and that’s why I continue doing what I do.

We have to remember that the point isn’t to work less; it’s to do the kind of work that provides happiness, meaning and a sense of self-fulfillment. That’s the real dream and it’s one that is attainable by all of us.