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Do What You Love, Love What You Do

by David DeFord

I recently spent a week performing consulting services at one of the most prestigious healthcare providers in the world. Doctors send their patients to the clinics of this great organization when they need the best researchers and medical professionals.

Throughout the week I marveled at the high quality workers with whom I worked. They had climbed to the tops of their specialties; they displayed contentment, even excitement, about their work. Each seemed to feel they held an important role of an important mission. I saw no evidence of carping or gossip. Supervisors had such confidence in their staff that they felt no need to involve themselves in every decision. Trust, cooperation and creativity abounded.

One staff member called the clinic, “The Disneyworld of Healthcare.”

They loved their jobs.

Do you love what you do? I hope so. But like many people, you may look with some dread in the mornings to the upcoming work day. Do you feel trapped in a job you dislike? Do you dislike your employer or your coworkers? Can you see yourself working in your current company ten years from now?

If not, what will you do about it?

If you feel this way, I empathize. In the course of my career, I have occasionally felt trapped in a job I did not love. In those cases I did not always take personal action when I should have. I kept thinking things would improve. They didn’t.

Each of us has specific needs that must be met for us to love what we do.

  • Enjoy our coworkers and superiors
  • A desire for learning opportunities
  • Feel challenged
  • Make an important contribution
  • Some freedom and autonomy
  • Growth potential
  • Adequate compensation
  • Recognition or appreciation
  • Creativity

If you don’t receive your needed rewards, what can you do? I doubt that you are being held prisoner. Do you need to change employers? Should you learn a new skill, get more education, start a business, gain a new skill?

I’m please to say that many of you have written to me and described how my messages have nudged you to take some control of your circumstances and you made big changes. You have told me that you finally started the business you always wanted, have completed your first book, and some of you have decided to return to school and complete your education.

If you don’t love your work, you have choices:

  • Stay at it in hopes that you’ll learn to love it
  • Start a new job search
  • Go to school and learn new skills
  • Start your own business
  • Win the lottery, or
  • Marry somebody rich

I encourage you to look at your work and evaluate your satisfaction. Next, identify your needs. Will changing jobs meet those needs, or would one of the other options listed above help you meet your needs better?

Don’t settle for unhappiness. Don’t shortchange yourself. Think of your loftiest dream. What would you love to do? Don’t settle for anything less that your highest aspiration.

Realize that you won’t attain that dream by waiting for it to come to you—you must climb the mountain to experience the exhilaration of conquering it. The mountaintop will not come to you.

Don’t settle for less than the best you can become. How sad to hear someone say, “I wish I had….”

Make your remarkable leap. Then you can do what you love and love what you do.

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