I was leaving the Law School the other night around 6:30 p.m. A law student who saw me commented that I was working a long day. It had been a long day, but it had also been a good day. You see, I love what I do, and although some days are clearly better than others, almost every day is a good day. Despite having worked over 10 hours, I left my office that evening in a good mood and looking forward to what the next day would bring.
I was leaving to pick up my daughter from swim practice. My daughter is 11 and is in 6th grade. She is a good student, plays the viola, and yes, she is on the swim team. She has an entire world of possibilities in front of her. Something we all want for our children. Nonetheless, she sometimes finds the sheer number of possibilities overwhelming, especially when asked what she wants to do when she grows up. Airplane mechanic, doctor, animal trainer and bread truck driver are all occupations she has considered. When she asks me for guidance (which is happening less and less often), whatever words of wisdom I am able to impart inevitably conclude with the advice to do what she loves.
Why is it important to do what you love? To begin with, you likely will spend over 120,000 hours of your life working. That is a huge amount of time, and a large proportion of the total number of hours you have on this earth. If you could, wouldn’t you rather spend this time doing something that you find energizing and fulfilling instead of something that is tedious, distasteful or exhausting?
Which leads to the second point – doing what you love leads to success. Think about it. If your work is energizing and fulfilling, you will be motivated to use your talents and skills to do the very best job possible. You won’t mind staying late or working an occasional weekend if you find meaning in what you are doing. You will have a smile on your face that reflects a positive attitude, and others will want to be around you. Your enthusiasm will get noticed. On the other hand, if you find your work tedious, distasteful or exhausting, your primary motivation will be to get home, and this will get noticed as well.
Finding what it is you love, finding your purpose, is not something I or anyone else can do for you. I can offer guidance and suggestions, and I can support you when you make a mistake or take a wrong turn. The search can be long and sometimes discouraging, but in the end, it’s worth it, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what it is you find.