Some people get up each day looking forward to their work while others dread each day. Not that they don’t have days they’d rather be doing something else rather than the work before them, but they generally enjoy what they do each day. What makes them different? Psychology Today gives 10 simple reasons for it.
1. They seldom feel disconnected from the challenge that first engaged their interest.
Though their career paths may have swerved here and there, they’ve remained connected to the initial challenge—that all important motivating “juice”—that compelled them toward their field. Sure, at times it’s harder to focus, because all of us wade into murky waters now and again, … But people who love what they do never fully lose sight of the challenge and the sense of purpose that drives them; they fight their way back toward it no matter how murky things get because it’s the very thing that gets them up in the morning.
People who love what they do never lose sight of the purpose that drives them
2. They’re remarkably well-attuned to the “early years.”
People who genuinely love their jobs … are in touch with that kid who loved to write, or tell stories, or envision amazing buildings. The important part: what these people are doing in their jobs now may not be (and usually is not) a carbon copy of those passions, but they’ve successfully integrated elements of those passions into what they do. In effect, they’re energized kids with the seasoned perspective of adults – and that’s a great place to be.
3. They are “portfolio” thinkers.
When we speak of stock portfolios, we’re talking about something that is neither consistently good nor bad; it’s a mixture of ups and downs. A down cycle doesn’t kill the portfolio—though it may weaken it for a time. And an up cycle doesn’t make the portfolio a permanent success—though it may get it a bit closer to that goal. The point is, portfolio thinkers know that their careers will always combine positives and negatives. The crucial thing is, they don’t choke on the negatives and they don’t get too high on the positives. They ride the wave of both and by doing so they navigate their way closer and closer to what they want. If you want to love what you do, that sort of balanced, even-keel perspective isn’t optional.
4. They don’t care what you think.
… people who genuinely love what they do don’t allow others to talk them out of it. …Those of us who make it through those impasses, guarded by naysayers aplenty, are much more likely to love what they do than those talked into a contrived conventionality. But, the good news is, even if we took bad advice back then, there are still opportunities afterward to get back to what fuels our passions. It won’t come easy, but precious little worth having ever does. To put a psychological bead on this observation: people who love what they do are self-actualized in the best sense of the term.
5. They are born succession planners.
..some corporate-isms are quite important, and “succession planning” is one of them. It simply means that for every person deeply synced into his or her position, there’s another person in training to do that job when the time comes. And the time always comes eventually, because things change all the time; that’s the one constant we can all be sure of.
People who love their jobs not only know this, they embrace it wholeheartedly and actively look for others to share their passions with, in hopes that they’ll want to do that job one day as well. These folks aren’t doing this because the company handbook tells them to – they do it because they love what they do, and that passion compels them to share their knowledge and acumen with others. And if the would-be successor isn’t passionate about that position, people who love what they do take pains to help them figure out what position will fuel their motivation – because success is unabashedly addicted to creating success.
6. They will stay…but just know, they’ll also leave.
Why will they leave? Because for people who love what they do, organizations are important–since they provide the infrastructure to do that which fuels their fire–but no single organization has a monopoly on providing that fuel, and if a company … ceases to provide an adequate venue for doing what they love to do, then it’s time to move on. … A full commitment to doing that which one loves is among the most personal parts of one’s life. Passion always supersedes the functionality of infrastructure and organization, and that’s part of what makes it such an essential part of who we are.
7. They won’t be stopped.
I have lost count, seriously, of how many managers I’ve watched try to talk a passionate person out of pursuing a path toward the thing that fulfills them. The manager has a plan, and this person needs to fill a prescribed role in that plan, period. But for a passion-driven person who loves what they do—or is trying to connect up with what they love to do—that plan will receive their deference for only as long as it takes them to navigate around it. To put that another way, when a manager says, in so many words, “this is your role in my plan, and failure to fill it will have negative consequences,” the smart person usually obliges, at least temporarily. But the passion-drive person bent on doing what they love is already figuring out how to blow the walls off that plan and move on. You can’t hold them back. Just try it and see what happens.
Passion-fueled tenacity will win in the end, even if it means taking some hard knocks in the short run.
8. They draw people to them without even trying.
People want to be around people who are passionate about what they do because it’s an infectious feeling. So, let’s take the hypothetical person who loves what they do–and they exude passion about how connected they are with the challenges of their day—and place them among a group of people far less directed, far less passionate, and frankly a little confused about why what they do means anything at all.
Some of those people are probably so jaded that nothing is going to change their perspective, but some of the others are going to take notice. And when they get a taste, they’ll want a bigger taste – and pretty soon, even if they aren’t exactly sure why—they’ll start feeling a strange, uplifting sensation about coming to work. That’s the infection of passion, and if you’ve ever worked somewhere without at least a little bit of it to go around, you already know how vapid and miserable the days seem.
9. They live in the now.
People who love what they do are not short-sighted thinkers, but they’re also not going to wait around too long to see if “the pieces come together”. Sure, they’ll give it some time – of anyone, they know it takes time to pursue one’s vision of fulfillment. Nothing just happens without work and time, and more work. But if you think you’re going to convince a genuinely passionate person that an array of external forces must align before they can act, you’re wasting your time. The “now” for someone who loves what they do is precious, because it can disappear in a heartbeat. And that, as it turns out, is one of the most important lessons they pass along to the rest of us.
10. They never, ever limit their vision to serve the interests of petty competition.
…highly effective people don’t see the “pie” as having a limited number of pieces. Instead, they see a pie with pieces enough for everyone, and it doesn’t bother them to watch others get their slice. While we cannot escape the fact that we live in a competitive culture—or that we are a competitive species, just like every other species on this planet—there’s quite a difference between healthy embodiment of competition, and petty pursuit of selfish ends. People who love what they do are competitive. They wouldn’t be able to reach their goals if they weren’t. But they don’t invest their time and energy in scheming and undermining; they don’t try to deny the other guy his piece of pie just because that means there’s one less to consume. Loving what you do—no matter how competitive you have to be to attain your goals—does not require stepping on others to get there.
photo credit: Victor1558