How to Love What You Do and Do What You Love

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

It’s a saying most are likely all too familiar with, having seen it plastered on waiting room posters and motivational Pinterest boards. And on paper, the idea is equal parts uplifting and optimistic. If work is something you simply equate with having to do, surely it’d feel less like an obligation and more like an opportunity if it were something you wanted to do.

But that leaves us with a rather daunting question: How do you do what you love? And perhaps more important: what is it that you love to do?

Ask these types of questions with the goal of also supporting yourself and/or a family financially, and the solution becomes much more challenging. That is, until you realize that loving the work you do may be simpler than you thought.

Shift Your Workplace Mindset

When adhering to the passion mindset, it’s easy to lock yourself into a pattern of constantly seeking. This is because the general assumption tends to be that when you “find your passion” and love what you do, the work associated with it will come naturally. And on top of that, it’ll be enjoyable.

This mindset, while ideal, is limiting and fails to take into account individual agency. Instead, consider operating under a craftsman’s mindset. Instead of hyper-focusing on every detail of a job that doesn’t excite you and pondering whether it’s right for you, make the quality of what you produce top priority.

Value Quality and Integrity

When you shift your mindset and put quality front and center, you’re forced to consider not only the end product of your work, but also the value it holds for others. It becomes easier to see the bigger picture rather than a day to day list of to-dos.

Placing a high value on integrity contributes to your overall sense of motivation as well, especially as it pertains reputation. When people associate you with not only doing what you say you’re going to do, but also holding your work to a high standard, then you’ll attract more work and opportunities that will be their own reward.

Make Your Breaks Count

All of the above sounds fine and dandy on a good day at the office, but what about the bad ones? How are you supposed to grow passion and want to do a good job on the days when all odds feel stacked against you?

Well, there’s no one answer or cure for a bad day. They’ve happened, they happen, and they’re always going to happen despite your best efforts to avoid them. And on those days, it’s important to make your breaks count.

Get outside or go to a coffee shop. Loving what you do doesn’t have to mean you’re completely engulfed in your work from nine to five with no need to periodically destress. This is especially true when breaks end up providing you the opportunity to learn and practice new skills.

Seize Every Opportunity to Learn and Practice

Continuously learning and growing as a professional makes you more marketable, whether you choose to stay in a current position or not. If you see an opportunity present itself, one you have interest in pursuing, then set those plans into motion. Take advantage of every little moment to hop on a webinar, take an online course, or network at an event.

Loving what you and doing what you love, after all, is not about complacency. It’s not about finding that one thing you were meant to do and throwing in the “work towel.” It’s about taking the reins, chasing light bulb moments, and creating a situation for yourself that brings you both joy and challenge again and again. And again.

By Andrew Patricio

March 25, 2019