The expression “making a living” doesn’t even make sense!  How do you make a “living” working?

Professional career coaches set the record straight by distinguishing between living and working.


Definitions and meanings

Somehow, our ‘terminology” got really messed up.  There is a profound difference between making a living (how you live) and working at a job or career that provides the life (living) you want.

When asked what I do for a living, I respond by saying that I raise my son, enjoy time with my wife, play a fair game of golf, and cherish time spent with friends and family.  That’s the short list of what I do for a living.  What I do for work is something different.   What I do for work includes coaching clients, writing books and articles, and training audiences around the globe to “rethink and grow rich” in all aspects of their life; including their careers.  My work is a means to an end; and that end is living a good life.

Career coaches help you to design your life first; then help you with your work

Do you live to work or work to live?  Effective career coaches challenge you to first identify and design a meaningful and exciting life.  Then they collaborate to help you pursue the kind of work that would provide the life you want.  While most people invest their lives trying to identify their dream job; career coaches remind them that it’s more important to define their dream life.

The 3-Day Transformation:

Day 1: Spend an entire day in solitude, writing down how you want to live your life.  What are the 6-8 things that make you happy?  What are 6-8 goals you’d like to achieve that would make life worthwhile? What 6-8 changes would you commit to so your life becomes more valuable?  If your future isn’t worth a day of personal introspection, you’ll probably spend your life making other people happy and helping other people achieve their goals at the expense of your own. So invest a day designing your life!

Day 2: Once you have an exciting document that showcases your future, you can now devote time to identifying jobs, careers, and professions that will provide the life you want.  Write down 6-8 things that make you happy in a job.  Write down your 10-12 skills that you enjoy doing and that would be valuable to employers.  Document what skills you need to learn, credentials or qualifications you must obtain, and relationships you need to establish.  Spend a day determining what job options would inspire your life!

Day 3: Create written actions plans.  Spend half the day planning how you will achieve those 6-8 things that make you happy and the 6-8 goals that will change your life.  Write down how you will make the necessary changes that will make your life more valuable.  Then invest the second half of the day writing down an action plan that will lead you toward the right job, in the right industry, in the right working environment.  Allow yourself to envision the kinds of jobs that will inspire you and your life’s ambitions.

Partner with a career coach for 3 days:

If you don’t know what you want, you’ll have to settle for what you get.  If you live to work rather than work to live, you’ll probably spend your life chasing your tail rather than your dreams. All successful people – including athletes and business people – have successful coaches.  Never begrudge the investment you make in your future.  Hire a personal career coach who will challenge you to take three days to plan your life first; and then examine work options that will lead to a rich and rewarding life.  This is what I call…. “Making a living!”


Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach.  Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill).  He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: