It’s rare that you take the time to pause and think about “love” and “work”…
I’ve written before about how I don’t believe you need to have “passion” to design a successful and meaningful career. But, I do believe there needs to be “love”… a subtle, but important, difference.
Yes, they’re both strong feelings. However, “passion” is a temporary state, a moment of “feel good”. Whereas “love” is a more deep-rooted way of living. “Passion” is a moment of excitement, “love” is a consistent feeling that brings warmth and enjoyment.
The truth is, in our work lives, there is likely to be a lot of humdrum. Days that pass where you’re just getting stuff done and nothing much happens. These can be hard and frustrating; they are not and never will be fun or exciting. But, when you enjoy what you do or the outcomes of what you do… getting through the “un-fun” days become exponentially easier.
Do what you love…
Studies show that when you’re happy at work, you’ll earn more. And, if that’s not incentive enough, doing what you love means you’ll feel more successful, fulfilled productive… and, interestingly, like your work is more important than money.
So, how do you go about finding work or designing a career you love?
1. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
I encourage everyone I work with to start by creating their unique career identity. It’s the mix of strengths, skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications, and characteristics that only you have. Mostly importantly, it’s not about focussing on what you’re good at, but rather what you enjoy doing and what motivates you. This is not an exercise of uncovering and improving your weaknesses, it’s identifying what you love so you can do more of that.
2. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
If you want to make a change to something you love doing, it’s time to get brutally honest about how much you really want that. Making such a change might not be easy, it could involve getting uncomfortable, and take time and effort. If there’s something you think you’d love to be doing, but you’re not currently doing it… interrogate why that might be? Is it even on your priority list? Or are there other things you’re doing you want more?
3. TAKE ACTION
Oh, I know… I sound like a broken record! It’s highly unlikely you’re going to find that career you “love” today and be enjoying it by tomorrow. Like anything you want, it will result from a series of steps… so take one today, it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant. Dedicating even the shortest amount of time every day to taking one small action that takes you closer to doing what you love will deliver your successful and meaningful career that much sooner.
Or… love what you do.
Let’s face it, most of us have to work, if for no other reason than to support ourselves and pay the bills. But you don’t really want to get to retirement day thinking, “woo hoo, I paid the bills!”. Sometimes, finding “love” in your work might be less about making a change to something you enjoy, but instead finding a way to “love” what you do.
1. FOCUS ON WHAT OTHERS LOVE
Global research by O.C. Tanner and Forbes Insights, published in 2018, shows people produce great work when they focus on doing something that delivers value and that others love. When your intent is about delivering work that makes a difference to your customer, colleagues, community, manager, or organisation, both the quality of the work and your work-satisfaction improves.
2. CATCH YOUR NEGATIVITY BIAS
Your human brain is pre-programmed to fixate on the negatives of your situation. Instead of dwelling on all the things you hate about your work, rewire your brain by creating positive habits. Take steps to improve your knowledge and skills, find ways to be helpful to your colleagues, create and maintain boundaries around your work-life. Most of all look for opportunities to appreciate the benefits you receive from your work situation, however small that may be.
You’ve heard the clichés about “life being too short” and “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. And, the last 2 years have highlighted that you don’t have a clue what’s coming tomorrow. You spend 30% of your weekdays at work, and 30% of your entire life working… surely that’s far too much time to spend in a career that doesn’t fit you and you don’t enjoy. If you’re ready to inject a little love into your career, let’s discuss how I can help you stop hoping for it to happen and take action.