During my recent trip through South America, I was listening to Seth Godin’s audiobook, The Icarus Deception, while sitting in the bus between Guayaquil and Cuenca. It’s a must read/listen if you haven’t read/listened to it yet.
Seth made me think and inspired me to write this blog post.
Do You Love or Just Like What You Do?
I talk a lot about passion and doing work you love. It’s crucial to your survival in today’s world and to your career’s or business’.
Without passion and love for what you do, you can work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and no fulfillment, real success or happiness will follow. You will probably just burn out along the way.
When having passion for what you do, things become much easier. Things are fun and challenges are exciting. You are actually craving for challenges because you find them exciting to explore.
However, there is a major difference between loving what you do and merely liking what you do.
I ask almost everyone I meet for the first time if they love what they do.
Most of the time, I get an “Absolutely, I really like what I do.”. And that’s exactly the problem. If you like what you do, you don’t love what you do. If you can’t say you love it, you don’t actually love it.
I think the difference between the two is belief.
Do You Believe in What You Do?
When somebody tells me “I really like being an accountant” or “I totally like my job”, that is a clear statement that they don’t fully believe in what they do. If you don’t fully love what you do in business, it’s because there is a lack of belief, a lack of alignment with your values.
I used to work at a Fortune 500 company for 5 years before I started my business. I was a recruiter first and then became a sales manager, leading two teams.
I really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun. I liked it a lot. But loving it? That was a bit of a strong expression to use at that time.
I could not express love for what I was doing because I did not fully believe in it. It did not matter to me.
What mattered to me was my paycheck. There was no higher cause for me to work towards. The thing I was working towards was my salary and bonus.
Are You Positively Impacting Other People’s Lives?
I believe there is a direct correlation between having an impact and believing in what you do. If you do something for impact, you receive fulfillment. You have to have some sort of impact on somebody else, no matter how big or small, to truly feel fulfilled.
The most fulfilling part of my business is when a client tells me something like “You literally changed my life.”. That’s when I am at the peak of fulfillment. That’s when I know I am making a difference and once again realize that I truly believe in what I do.
Does What You Do Every Day Matter to You?
If you do something just because somebody tells you to do it, you are not highly motivated. If you don’t know why you do something, you lack of energy and motivation to achieve the goal.
I remember exactly how I felt every time we had to create the sales forecast for the next year in my corporate job.
I guesstimated something, put in lots of hours to make the budget achievable and the branch profitable, just to have my boss adjust it in whatever way he wanted to. When I asked him, why he adjusted it, he usually answered “Because my boss said we need more revenue and less expenses.”. I hated doing these forecasts.
During those rare moments when I was honest with myself in my corporate career and asked myself if what I did truly mattered to me, I had to answer with a sound “No”.
I could not have cared less about the actual business. Recruitment or management was not what mattered to me, the people did. Unfortunately, as you may know, recruitment is not a people business any more but a transactional business.
I can now sincerely say that I do what matters to me every day, exclusively. I am a people business now.
Breaking Out of the Golden Cage
I just love the expression one of my coaching clients recently used. He called the corporate career a golden cage. Lots of benefits, perks, status and a very comfortable life. However, most of the time, not much impact, few meaningful moments if any and very very few people who actually do what they believe in.
When I asked my client why he wants to change, he told me because he does not believe in what he does any more and feels like he wastes his life.
Now, he is moving into the startup world with the focus of clean tech, something that matters to him deeply. He wants to join or co-found a venture capital firm to fund clean tech startups and make a dent in the universe in his way.
Receiving the Golden Ticket
At the end of 2012, I received my golden ticket from the corporate world. I was given the chance to create something that I can believe in, something that matters to me and something where I can have an impact. I received the chance to create a career on my own terms.
I am truly grateful to the person who offered me that ticket. I was able to go on a ride of personal development like no other.
Are you doing what you believe in? Every day?