We all know that old cliche: do what you love and you’ll never work a day.
We all know that’s simply not true.
I understand the sentiment behind the cliche, though. When you do the things you love, the work doesn’t feel as much like work.
Here’s what I don’t like about it: the cliche makes not working a goal.
The reality is that anything worthwhile requires work. The question should be: will you love to do the work?
You see, when you do what you love, you’ll WANT to do the work. When you experience stress – the unresourceful kind of stress – you will not want to work. That inaction will cause you to not get the results and reward you want.
The key is to let go of the unwanted stress and focus your actions on what you want.
Let’s define quickly what you want. Obviously, you want to hit your goals and get the rewards of those goals. You also want to enjoy the pursuit of those goals. You experience the joy of the pursuit or journey when you align your actions with your values & purpose.
While this concept certainly applies to business, it also applies to all areas of your life.
Take relationships. This past week, my family and I spent the week along the Texas coast – away from our home base in Austin. It was family togetherness 100% of the time. It takes work to be the kind of Dad you want to be with small kids. It takes work each day to be the husband you want to be when you’re juggling work, time off, parenting, household chores… all the things.
There were moments when I “stopped working” on the family relationships. My lapse doing the work as a Dad ended in my frustration and leaving dinner out early because the girls “wouldn’t listen.” Were they being perfect angels? No. Could I have worked harder to be the Dad that embraces this phase of life? Absolutely!
It took me coming back to the house, clearing my mind and refocusing my intentions on my values as a Dad & husband. That refocus allowed me to better communicate with the girls and take the ebbs and flows in stride. I did that work for the remainder of the trip. My relationship with the girls grew stronger.
You can apply the same work to your health, wealth, personal growth, spirituality. In private client coaching recently, I helped multiple people renew their motivation to wake-up early. By shifting how they perceived those early alarms, they were able to do the work of waking up in the pitch black, get out of bed and start their day on their terms. That is work. That is following your purpose. And that helps you get the results you want.
So, it’s not about NOT working. It’s about finding joy in your journey and being excited to do the work everyday.