We often hear the phrase “you’ve got to love what you do” and it is advice given by many self-help gurus and books. But what exactly does it mean?
The mistake is to take this phrase at face value, as in, love being a doctor or love being a lawyer. It does not mean anything like that at all.
I work with a lot of doctors, and I can promise you there is a lot about their work they really do not enjoy. Doing Friday/Saturday night shifts in the Emergency Room for example or lawyers being on call and being called up at 3 am in the morning to deal with a car thief who has just been arrested by the police. You would be hard-pressed to find a doctor or lawyer who would tell you they love that part of their work.
These days it appears to be fashionable for young kids to call themselves entrepreneurs or founders. They have fallen in love with the idea of starting and running their own businesses. Yet as Gary Vaynerchuk points out unless you are making money, instead of raising money, you are not being very entrepreneurial. What these people are is in love with the title of ‘entrepreneur’. But to be a true entrepreneur involves hours and hours developing a product or service. It means spending days and weeks sat in front of a computer writing boring lines of code or prototyping package designs and UI experiences. If you are not in love with that part of the work, you are not in love with what you do.
And that is what “love what you do” really means. It means you love the work of doing what you do every day. It means you love waking up at 6 am every morning and writing your book. It means you love pushing through the pain barrier every day in the gym to achieve the body you want. What it really means is you love the process of doing what you do.
If your love is the title, or the money or the position, you will never find happiness or fulfilment in your work. That only comes from the process. It is the love you have for the doing that ultimately leads to happiness and fulfilment. That’s where the long-term wins are. There is no winning strategy in handing out small pieces of card with the title “founder” on it only for you to spend your days running around seeking money for a, as yet, untested idea. That’s being in love with the name and not the process.
One of my favourite times of the week is Monday morning. That is the time I sit down at my desk and write my weekly blog post. I love that time. My email and to-do list manager are closed. It is just me, the words and my writing app. Those two hours of getting my thoughts and ideas out of my head and into a written form are such joy to me. The same goes for Saturday evening. Saturday evening is when I sit down in my little studio and record my YouTube videos. Once again, it is just me, my camera, lights and microphone and a head full of ideas I want to get out. It is a pure love of the process and it is a part of my work I look forward to every week.
While I am writing or recording, my only thought is that if I can help just one person then I have succeeded. I am not interested in getting hundreds of thousands of likes or reads, that does not interest me. I write and produce videos on subjects that I wish I could have learnt ten years ago.
That really is the truth; I don’t care how many people read my blog posts or watch my videos. If just one person reads or watches what I produce and achieves something special, then I will be very happy. When I am writing or recording, in my mind I am hoping that what I am creating will help someone. That is where the source of my inspiration and enjoyment in writing these blog posts or recording my videos come from — that what I am producing might just help someone.
So, my advice is instead of seeking a job you think you might enjoy, or a title you think will impress other people, search for something you love doing. Whether that is selling door to door, or brewing coffee. If you love selling or you love making coffee, then that is what you love doing. Do that. You will be a lot happier and the opportunities for creating a successful life will open up for you because your love and your passion will shine through and impress others.
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My goal is to help show you how to live the life you desire. To help you find happiness and become better organised and more productive so you can do more of the important things in life.