“Your books are so amazing, they have changed our family’s life! My husband loves to cook now! You’re going to be a millionaire!”

I politely thank the beautiful lady outside the watch store, as she gushes with exuberance. I give her a little hug, we part ways—and I chuckle inside. If she only knew I was scrubbing dishes in the bathtub of a hotel after my final guest appearance last night. I lugged my seventy-pound kitchen around the country in a suitcase with me all week. I fell into bed each evening in a hotel room (that ran out of soft pillows) between eleven and twelve at night—after cleaning dishes up. Then I woke up to the 3:00 a.m. alarm, summoning me to be prepped and ready—looking rested and perky, of course—for my guest appearance on The Today Show. And the whole thing starts all over again tomorrow.

You see, once I recognized, then pursued, my dream to help families get dinner on the table, my entrepreneurial side allowed me to envision much of the hard work ending with the creation of my first book. After all, there was five years of testing 160 servings per week with real families on the go. The production of the first book itself was all-consuming. And what about the eventual outlay of cash that we are still surprised we managed to muster up! Little did I know this was just the beginning.

I felt it was important to blog about this, because sometimes people mistake passion for amount of work, rather than the work itself. When you are passionate and fulfilling your life’s purpose, it doesn’t mean you stop working—it’s just that the work is sooo much more meaningful. That 3:00 a.m. alarm may be tough, but I wake up with a smile knowing I am going to help more families today.

So, remember that inspiring work—the kind that brands your soul—is exhilarating, it makes you feel complete, more in touch with God. Money might flow in, but it’s not about money. It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt, but it doesn’t mean you’re heading into retirement. You may work harder than you’ve ever worked, but the work is different. And when you do retire (if you even want to. I can’t imagine retiring) it will be even that much more exciting, knowing you can now give your gifts away for free!

Sandi Richard is considered by many to be North America’s leading meal-planning expert. She is the three-time award-winning creator and host of Fixing Dinner on Food Network Canada, American Life TV and Discovery Asia. She is an International Bestselling author of six life-changing books in her Cooking for the Rushed series. In addition to being a regular on CBC radio, Sandi has been a featured guest on Food Network U.S. and a repeat guest on NBC’s Today Show. Sandi is the mother of seven children, and when eating became the enemy in her house she began searching for solutions. That was two decades ago and she never looked back. For more on Sandi please visit her WEBSITE.