Find Work You Love, Anything Else Will Be Less Than Your Best
As students we go through many levels of education, from elementary to middle to high school. We are exposed to many subjects and a wealth of material to learn. For those that go onto college additional materials introduced include advanced
- detailed studies of different views (art, philosophy)
For the greater part of our early lives we are given problems and expected to solve or answer them with a "correct" answer. We are conditioned to expect increasingly complicated questions that have a known solution, and to use existing methodologies to solve those problems.
The greatest challenges we face each day don't have a right answer. At times we may discover a best answer (time/funding limited). The question and answer nature of modern education fails to model the types of real problems we face while working or running a business. And never are we guided to discovering a path that has meaning for us, be it as an employee, free lancer, manager, executive or entrepreneur. No where along the lines is our education focused on finding work that you love, that you simply must do. The one exception, a simple multiple choice aptitude test to aid guidance counselors who are usually preoccupied with the type of college or job you should apply to.
As a student, I never would have expected that great passion for a subject is a thousand times more effective than basic training or talent.
Great passion for a given subject elucidates an effort that is incomprehensible to those who don't share a love for their labor. If we are lucky, we'll be given a few encouraging words by someone a little wiser than ourselves. One of the most important messages we can hear while growing up is "Do What You Love". The simple honesty of a friend can tear through years of mental conditioning that herds you to a "highest paying job" you trained for.
If you're not doing what you love for a living now, every day you can take small steps and move a little closer to your dream job or calling. Everything you do may not be something you love, but the driving goal and purpose in your work has to be satisfying to you. If your labor is one of love, it will have an entirely different meaning, and will bring out your best. Living a life where your daily efforts are aligned with what you most love will allow the world to see what you are truly capable of.
Winning Business Systems Will Recognize the Power in Encouraging Their Members to Work In Roles They Love
The history of businesses has witnessed the rise and fall of many companies in a wide range of industries. From larger corporations to smaller franchise systems these companies have evolved into effective profit engines. Many of these large systems are not very dynamic, not very flexible, and not very creative. But these systems are capable of making a simple change that will transform their very nature and culture instantly.
Winning organizations will understand that the greatest value any employee can create is revealed when their work is in line with something they have a driving passion for. We are witnessing it now. We're seeing it across industries from video games, to social communication companies, to interactive language learning tools, to internet sales (see Zappos for a great example). Some of the companies that "get it" today are smaller (some newer) and they have a very focused niche ideology. The people that work for them, and with them are all gathered around a central theme. A few examples of central themes for businesses:
- provide the best social software
- provide the best customer service
- connect our customers to their favorite products instantly
- find/match people who are the best fit to an existing corporate culture
- improve information flow, archiving, access, efficiency, and undertsanding
- discover social entrepreneurs and empower them further by connecting them together (Ashoka)
- create software that understands natural language (Advertising example)
We are challenged to continually refine our business culture to one we would be proud to have our children inherit.
Not everyone in the company will have the same role. But if each of them is doing something that they can find value in, that their coworkers (and society) can find value in, an incredible feedback loop is created. Suddenly what they're
doing matters and actually makes a difference. Their work doesn't have to change history, but it has to bring meaning to at least one person. Community recognition isn't necessary, but they (as a team) have to know that they've succeeded in changing at least one person's life. This change has more value than $100,000 bonus earned by working at a job or running a company you don't love. In the extremes there are folks in the financial sector that may get hundreds of millions of dollars as a bonus for managing a huge investment fund (asset class/hedge). These are incredibly gifted individuals who are spending their lives attempting to grow wealth by moving money around. I'm not knocking those who love it, but I wonder how many don't. How much more could they be doing if they were pursuing a path they loved? Should we judge value simply with dollars, what about contentment and meaning? What about the value our efforts have for many people (the social effect)? By looking past developing dollars for a client, we can ask an important question. What are these incredibly talented/driven people capable of if they are doing something they
truly have passion for and believe in?
If You're Out of Harmony, It's Time to Re-tune
Everyone should ask themselves a simple question from time to time, no matter where they are.
"Am I doing something that is in harmony with what I truly want, or want to be doing on a daily basis?"
If they answer is no, you've got to make a change, and it has to be significant. You may have to iterate. Your perception of certain jobs may change when you are actually performing that role. You might dream of having your bosses job, imagining that ordering everyone else around would be great. But when you are in that position, you realize all the responsibilities they had, and discover all of their bosses or the customers they had to satisfy. This realization can substantially alter your view. Combine those responsibilities with keeping track of what everybody in the organization is doing, and you may find that position doesn't match what you had wished for. Discovering you ideal job will be possible, when you allow your vision to evolve as you learn about yourself.
The value in work is not a question of how much you know, or how much you can do. The value comes from how much you love doing something, everything else will sort itself out.