How To Stay In Love With What You Do!
Every now and again, I find myself listening to Steve Jobs iconic commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005. He started Apple at the age of 20, in his parent’s garage, and 10 years down the line, found himself fired from the company.
To quote from the speech: “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
His words never cease to amaze me. What he’s saying is if you love what you do, it’ll be the reason you wake up every morning, and the reason you will want to do great work, and the reason you will have a great life.
Every time I’m a little unsure or am facing some dilemmas at work, it reminds me why I’m doing what I do. And how to keep continuing to find joy in it.
Here are a few thoughts to help you stay on the path and stay in love with what you do!
1. Define your success beyond financial gain
If there’s one thing that holds us back from pursuing our passions, it’s the fear of not being able to earn enough. It’s what keeps us in unfulfilling jobs. But this idea ignores the fact that succeeding in anything requires a great deal of work and uncertainty. For everyone who has made a good living doing something they enjoy, there are countless other equally talented people who were not able to do so.
Fear of not earning enough shouldn’t hold you back from what you think you’ll enjoy. You need to redefine your success beyond financial gain. Do what you love and enjoyment will follow. Do what you love and you will feel more fulfilled. Do what you love and the money will seem less relevant. Do it best, and you will also see financial success. It will be the icing on the cake.
2. Be consistent; do what is required.
Don’t we often hear that if we do what we love we’ll never have to work a day in our lives? Think about it carefully. Does it mean you don’t really have to work? Or does it mean you love what you do so much it doesn’t seem like work?
With any job, you often need to do things you wouldn’t otherwise choose to do. I love writing and interacting with people on the blog and other social media, but the administrative tasks to keep the site running and growing doesn’t always make me jump with joy. But that’s the crux of using the power of social media effectively, and the way to spread the word about what we do. The reason drives me more.
Ultimately, it boils down to freedom. We enjoy doing the things we feel we’re doing entirely by choice. Since work, in any form, is sometimes not free will and requires us to do things we may be disinclined to do, we need to know to go in that even the most enjoyable paths will have their ups and downs.
3. Have a plan even if things are uncertain
As with anything in life, following your passion means to take a chance; the giant leap of faith. It all sounds good. But not without a plan. It’s important to expect what’s in store. That’s what a visionary does. Plan for the rainy days, but take risks. It’s always good to remind ourselves that if things fail we can always get back up.
Imagine you’re trying to reach a fruit. It may be too high for you to reach when you jump for it. You fall a few times. It’s okay. You get up and decide you need to climb the tree to pick the fruit. You try a few times. You fall. It’s okay. But then you finally find a way to reach it and are successful if you keep trying long enough. Not only do you get the fruit but you also find the most efficient way to get it. You are also in a position to help others who are trying to do the same thing. Working on your goals needs to have a similar approach, whether you are self-employed or work for a company.
It’s not just the leaps that dictate our success, it’s our capacity for navigating the unknown and our willingness to learn from the landing. It’s the best form of learning.
4. Trust your path, and follow your moral philosophy.
I have been introspecting about this a lot lately. Knowing your goals makes it easier for you to get there. A lot of people are caught up in toxic passivity and never set an intention, and they feel stuck and don’t know where they are headed. If you know where you’re going it’s going to be easier to make spontaneous shifts that will still be in alignment. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s going to be very difficult when things don’t go your way. If you have a general direction, when things get bumpy you can afford to be spontaneous, to improvise and to flow. It’s hard to hit a target you can’t see but it’s impossible to hit a target you don’t have at all.
When something goes wrong, it may feel like your entire life has gone wrong, and not just a bump in the road.
So finding your moral philosophy is important. It is not referring to some heavy moralistic mumbo-jumbo! It is simply asking yourself what are my values? How do I stay true to them? And understanding at every step what is good for you, and what is not good for you. Staying in alignment with that helps you move forward efficiently. After all, your goals cannot be separated from the way you see life!
Ultimately, if we are too comfortable where we are we will not progress. We all reach that plateau in our careers and hit our comfort zones. Many times, we remain in inertia for too long to be able to get out of it in time.
Work is a huge part of what we do and our identity. So we need to constantly evaluate where we are going and put the effort in that direction. Here’s where the role of an effective leader gains value. It’s precisely important in two ways.
First, you need to be able to spot the person who displays passion, drive and zest for their own personal progress, and also keenly assesses if their values align with your company goals. If it means taking the risk of hiring a person who isn’t backed with hefty qualifications like an MBA, so be it. Sometimes, let your heart lead. You can always invest in training & development to enhance skills if the person is the right fit! After all, if you love what you do you will always want to give it your best.
Secondly, business leaders should be in tune with what drives the team members and give them that window to find their calling. An effective leader helps encourage the employees to think about the future and motivate them to work with passion.
At the end of the day, as leaders, or as an employee, we have to put effort into our personal progress. Only then can we continue being in love with what we do.
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Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.