Do the Work You Love to Do
by John Zettler
After almost 20 years of slugging away in my career I finally decided to stop just taking jobs for the sake of taking jobs and, instead, find something that I could honestly say I was passionate about. As I tell my friends today, I now get to do what I love which is to help people fulfill their goals and aspirations.
If I told you that, according to a Deloitte study, 80% of people don’t like, or aren’t passionate about, the work they do, would you be in that 80% or would you be in the minority of people who are living their dream? Listen, what I write below isn’t a silver bullet to guarantee you’ll live your dream, but what it could do is unlock some answers for you and move you in the right direction. I know even for me, I came across a few new ideas that I’m currently working on implementing.
Let’s start here: Why are you doing the work you’re doing? So many of you are doing it because someone told you that you should, someone told you that you couldn’t do something else, or you feel like you don’t have a choice to do something different.
Like myself in my early career, there’s even another group. The group of you (and me) who think building our resume and doing work you’re not passionate about early in your career is the way to go about it. In my research I stumbled across a quote from Warren Buffett, Dale Carnegie graduate who attributes much of his success to having taking the Dale Carnegie program, and here’s what he says, “Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age.”
I googled “find the work you love” as a starting point for this article. As suspected, I found a lot of results. I read a lot of articles and then stumbled across a Ted Talk by Scott Dinsmore. Below is a combination of the articles I read and of Scott’s Ted Talk.
3 simple things all passionate people have in common:
- Becoming a self-expert. Understand yourself. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it. Here’s some of the questions that Scott, and many of the articles, suggest we ask ourselves:
a. What are our unique strengths, in essence what do we do best?
b. What is that thing(s) that we love to do so much we would do it even if we didn’t get paid (metaphorically of course)?
c. What are our values – our hierarchy for making decisions? This is really about knowing what yoursoul is made of.
d. What do I envy in other people’s careers? Places where you might say, “I wish I could do that!”
Our experiences to date are a good place to look to help with answering these questions – we learn things every day about what we love, hate, are good at, and not so good at. If we don’t apply what we learn, it’s all for nothing.
Another part of becoming a self-expert is being reflective. We need to continually ask ourselves: What went right today, what didn’t, what should I do more of, what should I do less of? Ultimately we need to define what Success ultimately looks like for us. Note, this isn’t always going to be about money – often it’s not in fact, but that shouldn’t matter if we’re truly doing what we love.
- Do the impossible, push your limits- I was talking to a group of people in the midst of writing this article and I referenced what I was writing about. When I got to this part, talking about how we’re really the ones who often hold ourselves back, I had multiple people come up to me during the remainder of the day to tell me how much that hit home for them. Listen, there’s only a couple reasons why we don’t allow ourselves to truly live our dreams. 1. We don’t believe enough in our own capabilities, or someone tells us we aren’t good enough or can’t do it. As Scott says in his talk, “Everything around us was impossible until someone did it or invented it. Do the things you think you can’t.” Prove people wrong, prove yourself wrong. Accomplish your own impossibilities.
Along the way you might become overwhelmed by the path to success. Don’t quit because it seems too hard or it will take too long, anything worth having isn’t always easy to get. To keep yourself feeling successful, break out your plan into small steps and be sure you celebrate your successes along the way.
- Surround Yourself with Inspiring People – Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” So, with this in mind, who are you spending most of your time with and are they helping you towards your goal? The best way for you to achieve what you’re looking for is to surround yourself with people who can support you, who are also passionate about something. Just remember, the people around you matter, the environment is everything. We need to manage our surroundings. Change your thinking from – How could I possibly do this to: How could I possibly not?
At the end of the day, all I encourage you to do is the following: Do things that matter, things that inspire you. The only thing that limits possibility is our imagination. Whatever it is you’re wanting to do, doesn’t matter what it is, you can find someone who’s already killing it doing just that thing. Find that person, find out how they do it and you’ll win too!
I leave you with one question – What is the work you can’t not do? Figure that out and you’ll figure out exactly what you should be doing!
Director, Talent Strategy & Development
Dale Carnegie Business Group