How to love what you do
As we celebrate love and romance during the month of February, it is an opportune time to think of all that we love – and only a few of us would list our jobs among the things we love most.
Sayings like “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” have created the idea that career satisfaction comes from finding a ‘dream’ job in which you only do your favourite tasks, all day, every day.
In reality, however, all jobs include tasks that are enjoyable and, of course, tasks that are less pleasant. Even those who generally like their jobs are unlikely to be 100% excited, interested and enthusiastic about it every day.
A more realistic option than trying to find an elusive “job you love” would be to learn how to love what you do already.
You can learn to love what you do by following these tips.
1. Focus on the good
It is easy to recite a list of things you dislike about your job, but what would be more beneficial to your happiness is to focus on the good. To start with, remind yourself that a job you dislike is better than no job at all – particularly in a country with a shocking 30% unemployment rate. Also look for and focus on positive aspects, such as the tasks you do enjoy; the interaction with other people – such as co-workers, clients or suppliers; and the perks of your job, like not working on weekends; bonuses; annual increases and opportunities to learn new skills.
2. Do it for love
“Work is love made visible.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Love is a strong source of motivation. When we do something for someone we love, we do it with care and without complaint, even if the task is unpleasant. Perhaps you don’t love your job itself, but you can love what it allows you to do for those you love: providing a home; maintaining a lifestyle; or even paying for an education. Remind yourself often who you are doing it for, and how they benefit from it.
Similarly, a joint study by the O.C. Tanner Institute and Forbes Insights found that in all the cases of award-winning work studied, the workers were focused on making a difference that would benefit someone else. Instead of focussing on themselves, these workers focused on how other people would benefit from their work – their customers, colleagues who depend on them, a leader who trusts them or even the community in which they work.
3. Adopt a Craftsman’s Mindset
In his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, Cal Newport suggests adopting a Craftsman’s Mindset. This mindset acknowledges that regardless of what job you have, success is always about quality.
The better you are at something, the more you enjoy doing it. Focus on the quality of the work you are doing and the value you are adding. Consistently look for ways to complete tasks better, faster and more efficiently; innovate new ways of doing things and add extra value to every task you undertake.
If improving the quality of your work and increasing the value you add at work requires new skills or a qualification, remember your Academy of York student advisor is ready and enthusiastic to assist you in choosing the ideal course and providing fanatical study support, every step of the way to loving what you do!