Dear Sean and Fellow New Beginners,
The Dangers of Not Loving Our Work
I admire authors Collins & Porras’ work in the book Built to Last. They busted a lot of myths about successful companies and exposed what works over the long haul. It’s the same stuff for personal success. They just talk about lots of people making something happen versus looking at the individual level from knowing yourself, to identifying your core values, to having a vision and big goals.
They nailed half the concept of loving what you do and the motivation it provides to excelling in your work. From a career perspective, it is what pushes you to keep driving. Why? Because it doesn’t feel like work when you love doing it. They’re hammering home that it’s simply not worth doing something you don’t love, because you’ll never put the same amount of effort into it that somebody who does love it will. This translates into diminished achievement and career success. Period.
Are there people who spend years doing something they don’t love, yet find what outsiders view as career success? Money? Recognition? You bet. But I’ll also bet that they’re missing the other half of the equation, and that they suffer from a lot of stress as a result.
The other half, and the other danger I see, is that we’re simply not as happy. Why wouldn’t any of us, given the choice, choose to be happy over miserable, or even just OK? It’s helpful, too, to get some perspective on “happy”. Life is a constant series of ups and downs. Even J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, says that there were times when she was writing that she hated it. It comes with the territory of effort. But funny thing, we often look back at those times blissfully, because we recognize we were so engaged, so in our zone.
The dangers of not loving what you do?
1) You’ll probably not excel in your career the same way someone who loves it will.
2) That sense of feeling satisfied with life (kind of like a full tummy does after a great mealand good time with friends and family) may escape you.
And lest you think that finding such work is a luxury, look around you. From famous people like Steve Jobs and J.K. Rowling, to people in your community, they are everywhere. You do have a choice. So I suggest you go find them and have a great information interview with them to learn about how they do it.