You’ve probably heard the old saying; if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. This came to mind as I took an Uber to the airport last week and told the driver I love what I do. He said it’s really rare when he hears someone say that and he’s done nearly 400 Uber trips.
Do you love what you do? I love what I do but it’s still work. Some days are tougher than others and sometimes it’s hard to get going early in the morning. I certainly love my wife Jane more than work but marriage takes a lot of work and isn’t always fun either.
Having said that, I do believe if you love doing something it’s far easier to do it and to do it with passion. Love and passion both give you better odds for success. I first learned this through athletics. For example, when I was in college I ran the weightlifting club for three years. During that time, I competed in powerlifting and after college competed in bodybuilding for three years. I loved weight training and dieting so competition served as motivation to do what I loved with more energy and intensity. It made the hard work fun!
Start with Why
Most of this starts with the mind. Simon Sinek would ask what’s your why? That’s the first step. When I started lifting weights I didn’t love it right off the bat. I was doing it because I wanted to get bigger and stronger for football. It was hard and I was sore an awful lot but I kept focusing on the next football season.
With influence my why was sales. I was involved in sales training and when I came across Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion the light bulb came on. I remember thinking, “This explains all the sales techniques we teach. It’s the psychology that makes the techniques work.” With that understanding I was hooked!
You can’t expect success overnight so look for the small wins. These milestones can keep you excited and eventually enough wins show real progress. Another of my outside activities was taekwondo with my daughter Abigail. The small wins for us was the progression from white belt to black belt. Each time you reached a new plateau the new belt was a visible reminder of the progress we were making.
With my influence training the small wins come each time I do a keynote or workshop. I usually get evaluation feedback from attendees so I can see comments and scores that have improved over the years. Feedback from others is valuable in case I have blind spots but the real evaluation is self-evaluation. There are often little things I keep refining, things people in the audience might not consciously think about but add to making the event great for them.
We all like things more when we believe we’re having success. Unfortunately, some people never let themselves enjoy success. Taking time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished is a critical component of loving what you do.
Another physical activity I did for many years was run marathons and half marathons. In several I did really well for my size (an over 200 lbs. runner) and I made sure I allowed myself to enjoy my performance. I’ve heard some people who do nothing but belittle their accomplishments saying things like:
“The competition wasn’t very good.” That’s not what everyone who finished behind you said!
“There were not many people in my category.” You had the guts to enter the competition and others didn’t.
“It wasn’t as good as I did last time.” But you did it and that’s worth something even if you didn’t perform your best.
I just wrote about small wins in the form of feedback. Before I dive into the feedback after a presentation and begin to figure out what to do next I let myself enjoy the moment. If I feel like I gave a great presentation I’ll tell people “I killed it” and relish it for a while. One organization said they’d not gotten feedback as high as mine except for the time Colin Powell spoke! I’m proud of that and still let myself enjoy that moment.
Only after I’ve enjoyed success for a while do I jump in and start strategizing about what needs to change next time so I can do even better.
Let’s recap. If you know why you do what you do, you’re continually seeing small wins, and you allow yourself to enjoy your success that’s a sure-fire way to enjoy, perhaps start loving, what you do. Don’t just meander through life, apply this three-step approach to whatever you’re doing and you will enjoy it more.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 100,000 times! Have you seen it yet? It will teach you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.