Five reasons why you should find what you love and double-down on it

Finding what you love is like compound interest…it works for you over time.

You know when you meet someone and at first you don’t really hit it off so well…you don’t seem to have much in common? And then, all of a sudden, you hit on a topic you’re both passionate about and your relationship changes? You immediately lose a sense of time and simply talk and talk and talk because you have a shared interest?

We all have interests like that; we all have something we’re passionate about. For some people it’s sports, others politics, others cooking, etc. Everyone has their own thing they love.

So here’s a challenge: If you’re not doing that thing you love for your job, you should quit right now and go figure out a way to make it happen. I’m serious, you should cut the cord and simply go do what you love.

I know that this is easy to say and hard to do, and it is pretty commonplace advice. But here’s the thing that I think is usually forgotten when thinking about actually taking the plunge. When you do what you love, you align your natural interests with your work ethic. You naturally pour all of yourself into it and you don’t resent that you’re working hard. Here are five things I’ve observed as I’ve worked as a designer (doing what I love).

  1. When you do what you love, you do much better work.
    Challenges are merely small hurdles to get over instead of huge mountains to climb. You stick with problems much longer, and you work on problems all the time (at least in your head). Once you get in the flow of this, then you start solving problems faster and faster.
  2. When you do what you love, people notice.
    They see your energy and they want to include you. You get a reputation of someone who does that thing because you love to do that thing. You don’t even have to be good at it to start. People want to work with others who are passionate about what they do.
  3. When you do what you love, work isn’t work.
    This is an interesting phenomenon because you don’t always realize that it’s happening. What used to be 8 hours a day at the office is now a dive into doing fun stuff all day that you’re kinda shocked you get paid for. Work becomes play some of the time.
  4. When you do what you love, you’re in constant learning mode.
    I love this part because I love learning. When you are doing what you love then you naturally want to learn as much as you can. You become like a little kid, diving into new things with abandon.
  5. When you do what you love, you are happier.
    That’s the bottom line, you’re happier doing work that you enjoy. This is what everyone’s goal should be.

Now you might say “Well, there is no money in baking cakes” or “I can’t paint pictures for a living”. Art is a hard one, of course, but there are three bakeries right here in Newburyport whose cakes could be improved upon. There is always room at the top for passionate people who care about what they’re doing.

You may start off making peanuts compared to what you were making before, and you will probably have to make sacrifices to make this work. But that will change because you’re going to become really good at this.

It might take a year or two to get up to speed, but that’s OK. The pain will be worth it because you’ll be happier. When you do what you love, you’ll do it more often. But you won’t mind. In fact, you’ll find yourself thinking about it when you shouldn’t be. That’s a much better problem to have than to want to completely forget your job when you’re not there!

Now, if you’re in an OK job right now but you have a plan to get to what you love, then stick with it. You may have to stay in a role that’s tough for a while, just make sure that you have a plan to move into something else. Talk to your boss and make sure they’re aware of where you want to go…if they’re any good they’ll help you make it happen because they know that it’s better for everyone anyway.

The people I admire most are the people doing what they love everyday because there is no separation between work and play. Their life is a constant playground. That’s what I’m striving for and I think the path is relatively straight-forward: find what you love and double-down on it.

Published: September 28th, 2011

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