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Always A Story Behind Why You Love What You Do

I always observe people around me to see if they love what they do. It is my natural curiosity, I just notice it. It shows immediately if they do (and even more obvious, when they don’t). I also worked with probably more than 1,000 people in the past 20 years who were looking for new work - mostly a more meaningful one.

I am sure once in a while you all meet those people who love what they are doing and bring their best self to work.

What is their secret?

They either really enjoy what they do or they know how to bring their strengths, passion to their work no matter what they do. Mostly the prior.

Think about a waitress you admired. What caught your attention?

She enjoyed her work, served people with a smile, was prompt and attentive. If this is not her favorite thing to do, she still brought her personality and her goals to the job. May be her willingness to be around people, may be the fact that she decided to enjoy the journey until she makes it to the job she really wants, may be to save the money to buy what she wants, may be to gain the experience in customer service to start her dream business. We don’t know, yet we can tell as clients when someone is doing great work.

Over the years I noticed, for those who really love what they do, there is always a back story.

My husband loves what he does. He loves to eliminate big risks in people’s lives. He makes sure their hard-earned money for retirement is invested in the right financial tools. He finds the best insurance plans for them. He is a true risk-manager in his heart. He has no plans to retire since he loves his work. 

He has a story behind all this. His parents did everything possible to send him to the best schools yet there was not too much money to replace things if they got broken or lost. He learned to take good care of his stuff at a young age. He would not take risks as some of his friends did, knowing this might be the only radio, ball or jacket he may have. It made him proud to keep his things in good shape. He embraced it so much it became part of who he is and what he does for a living. It is no coincidence.

I have a story too behind what I chose to do with my life. I help people find work they love and help companies create cultures that will attract and retain the right talent. I do not want people to go to work with a knot in their stomach chasing weekends. 

That is what I observed all around me when I first started working though. It did not make any sense to me. I started questioning the status quo: Why do we work like this? Why don’t we get excited about work? Why do so many people hate what they do? Why do most people feel horrible on Mondays? Why do we accept a life like this? Can we do better than this? Can we have a meaningful job and still make money? 

It was my first work experience, observing people around me that led me to be a career coach and an organizational culture consultant rooted in meaning and purpose. I dedicated my life to this purpose no matter what. My work is not separate from my life. I do this in one form or shape every day. It is the best fulfilling feeling and I want others to live it too.

I have heard so many other stories when I dug deep over the years:

I met people in my practice who studied medicine because their parents were sick. They wanted to find a cure. One client studied psychology and became a therapist because she had very tough years as a teenager going through lots of mental illness. She wanted to cure and help others.

I read a lot of stories after 9/11 where some people chose to leave their jobs to become firefighters watching their bravery after the horrible attack.

I met a mom who dedicated her life to save children from school shootings because she lost a very young son in one.

So what we experience in life can really open the path to what we want to do with our lives. It does not even need to be paid work. Many people find meaning in their lives by doing what they care about usually stemming from their personal experience. 

If you already love what you do but haven't connected the dots yet, take a moment to reflect on the experiences and dreams that led you here. Tracing your journey can be enjoyable and insightful. The connections may not be immediately obvious, but once you see them, it can be a grounding and enriching experience.

If you have not found your path yet or feel like you are at a crossroad to change it, watch and observe as you go through life :

what you care about,

experiences that move you,

things you want to change even if you never get to see the results of your actions in your lifetime.

They all carry great stories waiting to create a fulfilling path for you. 💙


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