As a teenager, I considered every career possibility for myself, from joining the CIA to starting a coffee shop on the coast of Mendocino (for someone who can’t drink coffee, that probably wasn’t the best plan). But early on, I chose graphic design and dove into learning everything I could about it.

I was lucky to pick the right path because I love what I do. Even though I’ve worked in this industry for 8 years, I can’t wait to start each day. Sure, I’ve had bad clients, frustrating projects, and failed expectations. Somehow I still love what I do.

Many entrepreneurs or startup conferences love to chant the “do what you love” mantra, encouraging the masses to pursue their dreams. But what many don’t realize is that there is a difference between dreams and passion.

I spent a time pursuing what I thought was my dream when I quit web design to become a video game designer. It was a lot of fun and allowed me to express myself creatively in ways I was not able to with graphic design. I created a few games, failed at many more, and collaborated with awesome developers. It was strangely glamorous (in a nerdy, very poor kind of a way) and really fun.

But for me, it’s not my true passion.

Since returning to the creative industry, I have learned a lot about myself and what it takes to pursue your dreams. Although video games were fun, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Helping people, on the other hand, with the abilities I have is my passion.

I love what I do because I love learning about my clients and trying to build the best product for them. I love listening to them and trying to play Sherlock to figure out exactly what they mean. I love the trust that I work hard to earn. I love knowing that I can confidently take someone’s vague ideas that they have been frustrated with and turning it into tangible, understandable, usable design.

But it all boils down to the fact that I am helping people and companies through talents that I am thankful to have.