You’ve heard the phrase: Do what you love. These four words mean a lot to so many. In fact, I personally have them proudly displayed in a frame in my office space right now. Do what you love, they say. Love what you do, they say. But what exactly do you love? Honestly answering this question is half the battle. Sure, you enjoy your job. You don’t cringe when you walk through the door in the morning. You don’t cry yourself to sleep at night because a work project is sucking the life out of you. But do you really love your job? This leads me to my first question:
Should you love what you do?
No. But you should appreciate what you do for a living. Instead of setting the bar so high that you must love what you do, perhaps the saying should change to something like this: Do what you need to do without being miserable, in order to do what you want to do. (Maybe the wall art artist thought that was a bit long to fit into a 4” x 4” wood frame?)
You don’t necessarily have to love your job to be happy. So, what should you do for a living then? Do something that leads you to something you enjoy a lot. Work hard so you can enjoy a summer beach vacation. Work even harder so that in ten years you can have the job you’ve always dreamed about.
NOTE: Don’t do anything you hate or feel bad about. I’m not encouraging that at all!
Work hard to bring home the bacon. Don’t let wall art that says things like “do what you love” intimidate you. Do what will lead you to something greater. Every step you take today is leading up to tomorrow, right? (That sounds a bit, corny, I know.)
What is important to you?
If you ever find yourself struggling with what you should be doing in this big bad world, take a step back to think (literally). Take a few hours to reflect on what you really appreciate about life. What do you enjoy? What’s important to you?
If you currently work at a fast food restaurant that’s busier than Walmart on Black Friday, ask yourself what you actually like about it. Is it the people or the paycheck? Is it the customer service skills you are attaining that you don’t know you are learning and will use even when you’re a 33 years old small business owner working for yourself?
Find something positive about every situation and remind yourself of these encouraging things. Do this whenever you find yourself doing what you think you HATE.
What do you want people to say about you after you die?
You’ve thought about this before, true? Will people remember your work? Does it even matter that you did a bang-up job on their air conditioning unit in 25 years?
Take out a pen and a sticky note. Write three things down that you want people to say about you after you die. After writing these things down, ask yourself if your job is helping you achieve these things. Are you currently living these things out?
Do whatever makes you feel good, as long as it’s not illegal or immoral. If you are working hard to make it as a senior graphic designer and that’s important to you, excellent. Will you always love designing labels for pet care products? Maybe not. But you should get something out of the experience. What that is- you’ll need to decide.
What are your future plans?
It’s smart to reflect on what you really want out of life. Is there something you want to do that will help you feel fulfilled? Peruse that. Head in that direction. Do not quit your day job. Just keep dreaming and learning. Grow as often as you can. You don’t have to do what you love each and every day. You should, however, strive toward something that you do love. Is what you are currently doing leading up to that? The answer to this question should be yes, in one way, shape or form.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I currently own my own business helping companies and non-profits with their online marketing. That’s the short version. I enjoy blogging, designing and engaging with people online. I especially enjoy strategizing and getting to know new businesses and their needs. But do I love it? I certainly appreciate and respect it. In the future, I would love to help motivate struggling young adults or teens find the inspiration to stay in school. What I am doing now will definitely help me achieve this goal.
This blog was written after and while drinking coffee.