If you’re like me, you have heard many motivational speeches over the years, and someone along the way has probably said, “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I know Steve Jobs said something like this to Stanford graduates a few years ago. So, is this concept really true? Or a better question might be, is it even possible? I read the Jobs biography and it seems like he didn’t always love his job, in fact, while a creative genius, he was also kind of a jerk to many of those he worked with (more on this in a future blog).
Life Can Be Fun
I certainly love many things about this life – playing golf, watching movies, eating great food, drinking lots of coffee, and sleeping in on Saturdays. Well, I am no Phil Mickelson, Roger Ebert, or Joey Chestnut…so, the first three options are out as careers by which I might pay the mortgage. I suppose the love of coffee might be calling me to a job at Starbucks, but, I’m not sure the barista paycheck is going to cover tuition for my two daughters entering college over the next couple of years. Now, that leaves sleeping, and if any of you can figure out how to make money at that, well, we need to talk…
Work Can Be Hard
I believe a better perspective on this is found in the classic Nike slogan: Just Do It.
It applies to working out, so why not also use it for going to work? The concept is a brilliant one – since most of us think exercise a chore, our friends at Nike help motivate us to get moving and as a result, we feel better about ourselves. You may not feel great during the workout, but you certainly do afterwards. Isn’t that the truth when it comes to your job? Like exercise, the thought of starting on the office to do list may not be pleasant, and dealing with some tasks can be painful, but after a day of hard work, when you have accomplished something and get to cross it off that list, it feels pretty good, right?
It’s All How You Look At It
My guess is that “loving what you do” is more about your chosen perspective and a sense of responsibility to those you love than it is about the actual joy that comes from the daily tasks your career requires of you. “Just Do It” and the reward comes later. Come to think of it, there are parts of my job that I actually do enjoy – mainly opportunities for creativity and interaction with other people, colleagues and customers. And I have been blessed to be in a position where part of my job actually includes taking clients to play golf, watch movies, eat great food, and drink coffee! So, I suppose I really am doing what I love after all.