Once in awhile, an ad will pop up on television featuring small business and, of course, those ads always get my undivided attention. I especially have liked the one running recently from the US Postal Service featuring homebased businesses.

It begins with the mailman saying something like, “I have one employer. Actually, I have forty-six.” It goes on to show him picking up packages at the front doors of’ different houses. Nice.

There’s another one from LegalZoom that also gets my attention, but not quite for the same reason. This ad features a woman who has started a candy business using her mother’s special toffee recipe.

After we’ve heard all the reasons why LegalZoom can help a small business owner, she says, “I never thought I could make a living doing what I love.”

I’m pretty sure she’s being sincere—and that makes me sad. Why in the world should making a living in a creative, joyful way be rare?

Years ago, I heard the wonderful Ray Bradbury speak at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. He said something I’d never heard before, but have never forgotten.

“In the moment of knowing a love,” advised Bradbury, “intensify it.”

Can you imagine what would happen if all of us took that advice seriously? That when we uncovered a new love we would nurture, not ignore, it?  Or when we met a kindred spirit we’d make spending time with them a top priority?

Sometimes those loves—whether recent or longtime—became the basis of a business. Sometimes those loves are an enduring pastime. Either way, it’s up to us whether we intensify or weaken our affection.

Seems to me that one of the most effective ways of intensifying our loves is by sharing them. If you spend any time at all on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll notice that some people are using those venues to pass along discoveries that have enriched their lives.

What I know for sure is that when we follow the path recommended by Ray Bradbury, the rewards are enormous.

As Leslie Rector said, “I’ve learned that what you love magnifies your talent. You just have to have faith to invest in it.”

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