The image I’ve used for this post is from Nishta, a fabulous vegetarian restaurant I visited in Dubrovnik at the weekend (my wife took me there for a birthday treat) – it was the sort of place where you just knew that they were in it for the love of the work – and the outcome of that was superb food, and I think simply the best dessert I have ever tasted (prošek-soaked figs with cinnamon mascarpone). There were many great philosophies written on the walls – this was just one of them – “I am not afraid, I was born to do this”. That got me thinking about how we can know what work we are born to do, fearlessly and with joy.
One of the things I find most fascinating about my work is the incredible variety of things that my clients love about the work that they are passionate about. For some it’s because they get to meet lots of people, and for others it’s
because they can work alone. Some love the fact that they get to share their knowledge, others that their customers constantly provide them with opportunities to learn something new.
And for each, it’s completely personal, and one thing I have learned is that while there are some general principles – a viable business model, proper budgeting & cash management, and a good understanding of what your customers actually need and want – there is no fixed formula for creating a successful business doing work that you love.
But there are some ways that seem to work in identifying work that you love and that you can get paid to do – and the first of those is to be really clear about what you really like about the work you love. So my challenge to you is to spend some time thinking about work that you truly enjoy doing, and work out what it is about it that is so joyful – for you.
Here are some ideas to get you started, all of which I have come across over the years:
- Creativity – it allows you to express yourself fully
- Contribution – it allows you to make a difference to people’s lives
- Competence – doing something really well, even just for its own sake, can be a source of joy
- Challenge – it gives you the opportunity to grow and become more of who you are
- Connection – you get to work with like-minded people who inspire and motivate you
- Cause – when you know your work contributes to achieving something you believe in
- Credentials – it either adds to your experience and knowledge, or allows you to show off a bit (nothing wrong with that – if you have something to be proud about!)
That list is far from exhaustive, I bet you can think of more reasons your work is so brilliant!
So what is it about your work that really brings you joy?
I’d love it if you would share it in the comments below, so others can learn from your thoughts and ideas …