It’s been a tough concept for me to grasp since I first read Gibran’s The Prophet, that one must love their work.
You’re kidding, right?
When I was a kid, I thought I’d grow up and be a prima ballerina and dance my little heart out. That dream persisted a while. When I got into high school, I toyed with many artistic (and a few holistic) career paths , as long as I got to create. When I finished university, I was heading out into the world to be a reporter and “finally be free”, and tell the truth. Life had other plans for me, but the great Spirit has a sense of humour.
It took me 10 years to realize I would never truly be fulfilled in an office and figure out what I could do to use my talents, help people and “find fulfillment” in my work. I was looking for answers instead of listening to the ones my heart was whispering all along. But in a sense, I needed these experiences to walk my current path.
Find A Challenge You Love
Let me say this: it doesn’t have to be your passion. Making your life’s work your passion is an incredible gift, but it doesn’t have to be the same way for everyone. Not everyone wants that. Your career (and your work), if you chose to work in this paradigm, does not have to be based on your passion. But you should enjoy the topic of your work and the way in which you are challenged. If you build a career, you should be excited about the direction in which you’re journeying, at a pace you find gratifying.
I’ve recently been given a great gift. I’ve come to realize that loving work should feel challenging, not oppressing. This isn’t an exact science. A task will be loving work for one person, while it will be someone else’s torture. It’s about whether or not you feel excited and challenged.
I was recently working with someone and went through a few hiccups and misunderstandings. It’s normal. The gift came when I realized that despite the stress of the situation, I felt blessed to be working on this project, with this person. I felt challenged to improve. Although work doesn’t always make us feel happy and peaceful, it remains a valuable experience if it challenges us and helps our growth.
It’s harder to be grateful when we’re being criticized and undermined. Once we get over the emotion, we can choose our perspective. We can choose to grow.
There are definitely kinder ways to grow however.
I encourage you to find an environment that provides you with projects that challenge you, with people you appreciate. If that’s not immediately possible, add a little love to one task, then your day, then your project and environment. The fastest way across is through. And the most rewarding way across is with love; for you, for others, for your current opportunity.
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
― Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Constantly challenge yourself professionally and personally. Make your life a series of loving projects. If you don’t love it, accept it and let it go. If you love it, give it your all and then let things take their course. Let go. Find a new project to love. You will feel enlivened by the love you feel for what you do, for what you’re creating.
How can you add more love to your work? In what ways have you found enjoyment in your work?