You are a startup. And the CEO.

My working theory of finding work you love:

You are a startup. And the CEO. And it's your job to find not product-market fit, but product-maker fit. What do you want to make? How do you want to serve? What's your signature contribution?

This process, just like in a startup, does not strike as lightning revelation from the sky. It's a process. And it's iterative. You apply the Lean Startup methodology. Do the hard work of trying stuff & being okay with it not working.

Yes, it takes courage to not live on autopilot and instead to find your own product-maker fit, but it's so worth it.

Even during the crazy process of being open to being lean, testing, seeing what works, throwing away what doesn't, and repeating until you are on the brink of madness—finally, hopefully, something clicks.

And beware: just like you can throw money at a startup product by pumping capital into it to keep it afloat and masking an incorrect fit for a while, you can mask the wrong product-maker fit with shiny objects. You can be tempted with extra $ to take work you think you could love.... but that you really don't (if you're being dead honest with yourself).

These are both untenable situations. Better to opt out from the beginning than to go down that road.

Note: there is no one "product" for You, Inc. (I mean, maybe there is.) Most of us have multiple curiosities, multiple ways we like to help. Hopefully a number of those are things we can do and people want to pay for, eventually.

You are a startup. New companies find their product-market fit through cash flow, through customers who love them. You will find it through the sheer immensity of the joy you radiate in your life. It will be palpable and unmistakable. What you love will make you radiate. And as crazy as shit gets, you will be faced with the choice of choosing this wildly joy-filled life that feels right and feels meaningful, or you can opt out of the crazy process of getting there and coast in a life designed by someone else to serve someone else's dream.

There's no right or wrong answer, but there's definitely a path that feels more alive.