5 Ways to Love What You Do

I began my career with a Big 4 accounting firm in its IT and financial audit departments. I loved the experience and people I worked with, but at the same time I wrestled with the direction I wanted to take my career. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch, but I wasn’t in a position to start my own company. Gradually I came to the conclusion that I would love to follow my passion for business, finance, and entrepreneurship by supporting startups in a CFO or similar role.

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Soon after coming to that conclusion, I took the opportunity to join a startup as their CFO. Since then, I have filled the CFO role for several startups. I have been very blessed to be able to make a good living while following my passion.

However, just because I’m doing what I love doesn’t mean I always love what I do. I have days and sometimes longer periods of time when I feel bored, stressed, and/or stuck. Sometimes I feel that I’m not advancing in my career quickly enough. Sometimes I feel like I’m in over my head.

On this journey of ups and downs I have realized that it’s first important to do what you love. Doing what you love starts you down a good path. But it’s even more important to love what you do. There’s a difference.

In this way, a career is like marriage. We marry who we fall in love with, but that event is only the beginning. We have to choose to stay in love by our thoughts and actions every day. We marry who we love, and then we need to love who we marry.

Here are 5 things to do when we find ourselves no longer passionate about our passion.

1. Create a vision 

Some days are more enjoyable than others. To consistently love what we do, we need to have a clear vision of where we want our daily activities to take us. According to Simon Sinek, we need to "Start with Why." We need a "why” that goes beyond today.

2. Set short-term goals

It’s important to have a vision for what we want to accomplish, but it’s easy to get sidetracked and frustrated if we don’t have a more concrete plan for getting from here to there. Setting short-term goals helps us focus on how our daily activities contribute to our grand vision.

3. Celebrate milestones

It helps to recognize the progress we have made, no matter how slow it seems to be. Levi King, CEO of Creditera, warns that there can be danger to celebrating too much, too early, such as celebrating a fundraising closing with a lavish party. However, celebrating milestones in simple, yet meaningful ways reminds us of the progress we are making.

4. Get over ourselves

Sometimes our daily lives get mundane or difficult because we are too focused on ourselves. We are worried about what we are getting out of our careers and what other people are doing for us. We should instead focus on how we can make our customers, team members, vendors, owners, etc more successful. As we lose ourselves in serving others, our success and happiness will take care of itself.  Like Zig Ziglar says, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

5. Make a change

So far I have focused on how to maintain love for the path you are on. However, sometimes it’s simply time for a change. Sometimes the path we set out on is not the best one to continue on. Before making a change, we should carefully consider our motives. We should consider whether or not the previous four steps will get us back on track. The grass usually isn’t really greener on the other side, and any worthwhile pursuit will have periods of boredom and difficulty and seemingly impossible obstacles.

In summary, start by doing what you love, and then work to continue loving what you do. Loving what you do is a conscious choice.

Question: What helps you love what you do?