How to Find Work You Love
The first Monday of November is Job Action Day. This day was 'founded' back in 2008, in the wake of the biggest economic crash in modern history. We saw the collapse of major financial institutions, auto manufacturers, real estate companies, and thousands of small companies around the world.
And in a time where most people were considered lucky to even have a job, people were quitting their jobs in record numbers. Deloitte found that 80% of the people don't enjoy their work. At one point, the US Government reported that for the first time, more people had quit their jobs than had been laid off.
At first they thought it was an anomaly; but it happened month after month. So in a time where people thought it was a tough environment, people were kissing the scripted life goodbye - the things people had told them they're supposed to do - in exchange for the things that mattered to them.
So what is it that sets those people apart - the people who do purpose-driven, world-changing work, that wake up inspired every day - and the other 80% who lead these lives of quiet desperation?
Why Are You Doing the Work You're Doing?
Just ask yourself one simple question: "Why are you doing the work you're doing?"
So often our answers are, "well, because somebody told me I'm supposed to." And we realized so many people around us are climbing their way up this ladder that someone tells them to climb, and it ends up being leaned up against the wrong wall... or no wall at all.
Job Action Day encourages you to start asking yourself some of the hard questions:
Do you feel fulfilled?
Are you passionate about what you're doing?
Are you using your talents on a daily basis?
Are you satisfied at the end of the working day?
Are you making a positive difference in the lives of others?
Are you making a real impact in the world?
And if the answer to any of those questions was 'No', then it's about time you take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and make an action plan around how you're going to get your life back on track. Because yes, as a society, we each need to make a living in order to function. But no, no amount of money will ever take the place of doing the thing you were put on this planet to do.
Steve Jobs famously said, "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."
You need to find the work you can't NOT do. So whether your Steve Jobs, a local baker, or a candlestick maker, you're called to do work that embodies who you are. Here's a framework you can use as a lens for today, and hopefully for the rest of your life, to point towards that work you should be doing.
Take Inventory of Your Personal Assets.
Become a self-expert, and understand yourself. Because if you don't know what you're looking for, you're never going to find it. And the thing is, no one is going to do this for you.
There's no college major on 'purpose' or 'vocation'. But don't get us started on that. Most of us spent more time picking out our dorm room bedspreads than picking our life's work and area of study. But the point is, it's our responsibility to figure that out. What are the things you wake up loving to do no matter what, whether you're paid or not? What are the things people thank you for? Here's four categories you'll want to inventory in order to a get a clear sense of your calling. Because your best work exists at the intersection of these four things:
Personality: How were you wired and what makes you tick?
Talents: What gifts, skills, abilities do you most enjoy using?
Experiences: What circumstances, setbacks, and successes have shaped you?
Values: What are the values, causes, and communities you care about?
You have to know what matters to you, what your soul is made of, so you don't go selling it to something you don't give a flying fruit about. Without this rubric, you're going to live this scripted life that everybody seems to be living, climbing up a ladder to no where.
If you've seen the movie Wall Street II, you might recall a scene where the peon employee asks the big Wall Street banker, "What's your number? Everyone's got a number, where if they make this much money, they'll leave it all." The banker's reply was, "Oh, it's simple. More."
And that's the sad state of people who haven't spent time understanding what actually matters for them. They keep reaching for something that doesn't exist, trying to a fill a void that can never be filled. It's like throwing pennies at a black hole expecting it to make a difference. That's silly. And we're doing it because everyone said we're supposed to. But that's why you'll see the countless number of people who are "a success" and depressed.
But once you have this framework, you can start to identify the things that make you come to life. Before this, your purpose could come and slap you on the face, and you might have brushed it aside because you didn't have a way of identifying it. But once you do, you'll be able to see something and say, 'That's aligned with my strengths, my values, who I am, so I'm going to grab onto this, and I'm going to do something with it. I'm going to pursue it, and I'm going to try and make an impact with it."
All Change Starts With You.
So if you still dream of being excited to go to work every day, Job Action Day was created just for you. This is an opportunity to recognize and empower those of you who dream of having a job you love, and doing more with your life than work 9-5, pay the bills, and then die.
Whether you're an unsatisfied professional, an employee in transition, or an aspiring changemaker, this is a chance to hit pause, ask yourself some tough questions, uncover your calling, and find out if you're really doing what you were put on this planet to do. Because, is that really so much to ask? This is a day to connect you with the tools and advice to turn your gifts into a force for good.
So, what is the work you can't not do? Discover that. Live it. Not just for you, but for everybody around you. Because that is what starts to change the world.
When you do what inspires you, you'll inspire others to do what inspires them. But you can't find that unless you know what you're looking for. You have to do some work on yourself, and be intentional about that.
Because imagine a world where 80% of people love the work they do - instead of the other way around. What would that look like? What would the innovation be like? How would we treat the people around us? How would the world be a better place because we were all here? The short answer is: things would start to change BIG TIME.
This is a Time for New Possibilities.
And the exciting thing is, people are waking up to this reality. The only thing that limits possibilities today is your imagination. It's not a cliche anymore. (Although we do love a good cliche.) We don't care what you're into, what passion, or hobby. (As long as it doesn't involve hurting baby animals, licking grocery store shelves, mixing ketchup and peanut butter, or other morally repugnant things.)
Because when ordinary people are doing the extraordinary, and you surround yourself with that, and it becomes the new normal. This isn't about being Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa. It's about doing something that matters to you, and making an impact that only you can make.
Speaking of Gandhi, he was a recovering lawyer, and he was called to a greater cause, something that mattered to him. Something he couldn't not do. And he explained that, "First, they ignore you. Then, they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then, you win."
So get out there and win.
Join this Community and Get More Goodies!
Everything was impossible until somebody did it. So you can either hang around the people who tell you it can't be done, and tell you you're stupid for trying. Or you can surround yourself with people who inspire possibility.
We no that's not always easy. That's why we created a community, where creatives and changemakers felt like they belonged. Where it is okay to do things differently; to take the road less traveled. Where that was encouraged. And inspire people to change. Because it's our responsibility to show the world that what seems impossible is now the new normal.
Let's do impossible things together. Because that's already starting to happen.