With Valentines day approaching we are hearing a lot about love…love of a another, particularly a romantic partner or spouse. Celebrating love and each other is wonderful, but I am thinking of a difference kind of love, loving what you do, loving your career. This type of love is often more elusive. Society tells us we should love our partners, our friends, our family, yet it is ok to merely tolerate your job. We put up with a lot in our jobs, trudging along, assuming there is nothing better out there. It is supposed to be “work”, right?
I want to challenge this notion. I believe we all deserve to love our work, just as we deserve to love and be loved by our romantic partners. When was the last time you really loved your work? Where you couldn’t wait to get out of bed and get to it? If you feel that way about your current job – great! If not, it might be time to find out what would be a better match.
Just like a life partner, your job will be much more fulfilling if it aligns with your values. For example, one of my favorite past jobs was when I worked as a Research Scientist at a biotech company designing a test to help with the management of HIV drugs in HIV patients. Our test would help patients live longer, higher quality lives at a time when HIV was still new and there were not many drugs available. I couldn’t wait to get to work every morning, because the work was highly aligned with my values of intellectual curiosity and making a real difference in the world. I could feel the impact we were having in the lives of HIV+ people and it was exciting. The actual work of calibrating the assay was extremely tedious but the passion behind the work moved me through the tedious aspects of my daily routine.
I have had many jobs since then that were not as fulfilling and I can feel the difference between pushing myself to do work I am not aligned with and the natural pull of something that grabs me. When our passions, values and work are aligned something magical happens – it just flows. Things fall into place and everything is suddenly easier. Work no longer feels like “work” but turns into joy and play.
As a coach I get to help my clients find their true passions and overcome the fears preventing them from following those passions. This work is deeply aligned with my values of truth, curiosity, honesty, learning, freedom, adventure, and making a difference for others. I am so in love with my job that I sometimes have to pinch myself to remember that I am not dreaming.
What’s your passion? What difference do you want to make? What impact do you want to have? What would make you jump out of bed every morning and rush into work like you would into a lover’s waiting arms?