“Do what you love and love what you do.” is a well known quote by Chris Walker. I don’t want to dwell on Chris’ work and life but what that quote means to me.
I’m an IT manager, I love technology and have a few gadgets. Although, I’m much more passionate about the people I’m working with and the contribution we make to the business. It is important to me that the service we provide is not only meeting the expectations (“that’s what you guys are employed to do”) but exceeding it because we are proud of what we do.
I met this week a person who showed me and some colleagues what he has researched, planned, build and what he is now running as one of the best services of this kind in the country. He knew every detail and why it had been designed like it. He reminded me of a young boy who created his first LEGO car show-casting it to his parents. The passion for what he had achieved was pouring out every word he said, every gesture he used, and every area he was showing.
That man loves every hour he spends working there and the result speaks for itself.
On the other hand, I met many people who work because it is another dollar in the pocket, it pays the bills. These people go to work because they get paid for what they do. If their boss would say, “today you do X and not Y”, it wouldn’t make a difference. On a Monday morning they may not feel too well, they will stay at home and have a “mental health day”. These people don’t do what they love. They haven’t found their best place to work yet. If that’s true for you, think about what you want. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? Maybe it’s time for a change.
However, let’s face it: knowing what you want to do and what you are good at, could be 2 different things. And that’s where you come in. What are you prepared to put in for achieving your goal? When you have the passion for it, you won’t find it hard to put the extra time in to become good at it. When you spend 10 minutes every day to learn a bit more on a specific subject you will know a lot in 6 months about it. You would have spend 30 hours just on that!
Look at the tango picture above (it’s not me). 5 years ago my wife said, let’s learn tango. I said, okay and she enrolled us. It was hard work – for both of us. Learning the steps, the figures, the posture, the way to move. After 3 lessons I was ready to quit. So we spend time between lessons watching video clips and rehearsing steps. After 3 more lessons we got a feel for the music and the moves and after 6 months we enjoyed every day and were looking forward to the next lesson.
This is where attitude meets passion. Having passion means you will do it naturally, having attitude means you will find the time to make it happen.
The difference stems from conflicting interests. Many of us have multiple facets. I love technology, my family, playing football, being an ICT leader and manager, and for the past months I’m learning to write a good and valuable blog. I’m passionate about collaboration and knowledge sharing. And that’s where the different elements what I love meet up. Although, I admit, it’s a question of attitude at this stage in writing the blog, finding the right content and putting it into words that make sense to others.
Passion is core to what I do. It’s not single thing but is true to all of the activities.
Change: I or what I do?
If you go to work because it is another dollar, you’ve got 2 questions to ask yourself
- am I doing the right job?
- am I doing the job right?
Assuming you are not doing the right job and better look for the ideal one could be wrong. You may need to change your attitude toward the job. Learn to love it. Respect what you do. Get better on the job. Broaden your knowledge or specialise, choose what fits with you. Either way, it’s you who is driving the car and not anybody else.
P.S. I recommend reading this article, it’s the commencement address to the 2005 graduates at Stanford.