If you're not happy, nothing else matters.
Ready that line again.
Did you read it again?
I bet that for a brief moment, your Heart agreed with that line and that your Head jumped in and negated that feeling with its logic and reasoning.
Well brain, here's a fun fact for you:
The only reason we do anything in life is because we believe it will maximize pleasure and/or minimize pain. This is the Law of Human Motivation.
In other words, we do it because we think it will make us happy or because we know it does.
So what does this have to do with our professional lives?
Well, happy people work harder because they enjoy doing it.
Yes. It's that simple.
Those who love what they do are usually more successful, inspired, creative and less stressed.
Steve Jobs loved what he did. Michael Jordan loved what he did. And maybe you love what you do too.
If you don't, imagine for a moment, waking up every morning energized, excited about your day.
Imagine your career consisted of work that actually inspired you. Projects that gave you a sense of meaning and purpose to your life.
Imagine working towards constant improvement and mastery for the sheer love of it!
Not for money. Not for status. But because it lights you up.
There's a huge difference between a job, a career and a vocation. A job is what you do for money. A career is what you do for a living. A vocation is what you do as a calling. It's what you do because you were meant to do it and it's what makes you feel alive when you do so.
As a leadership coach, I work with professionals often making a great living doing what they do. Many of them in the 6-figure salary range. Most of them have a career. Very few have a vocation.
If that sounds like an exaggeration, look around you and ask everyone about their work.
Ask them why they do what they do.
Ask them, if they could do anything knowing they would succeed, what would that be?
Now find the select few that already love what they do.
Can you see the difference? Why do they do what they do?
How do they describe their work when you ask them about it?
Do you see the fire in their eyes and the pep in their words? That's passion!
These people exist. And once they found their path, they jumped on and never looked back.
I know what you might be saying: "Yeah, but they knew exactly what they wanted since they were born.", or "I wish I was passionate about something", or "Yeah, but I have bills to pay and I can't live my life living in a fairytale."
Yup. I've heard all the excuses. Every single one of them.
Here's the good news. Passion, talent, creativity and inspiration exists in everyone. We're ALL born with it. And yes, that includes you too.
The problem often starts within us. You see, the brain is a powerful influential machine and it tends to override our emotions with logic. The Head is a tool for survival. It's helps you stay safe, alive and well. The Heart is a tool for emotion, passion and feeling alive.
The two however, like to contradict each other in an often imbalanced way. Imbalanced because safety is not the same concern it used to be. Today's first-world country citizen has all the safety and security they can wish for. And yet, the Head still rules as though it's helping us stave off predators.
You see, at some point in your life, you had big dreams and aspirations. You would imagine a life doing something truly special. For that brief moment, you couldn't be happier. You imagined yourself being your hero and being great at it. Life just made sense. Your Heart was expressing itself and it felt great to do so.
And then a bucket of cold water came crashing in to extinguish the flames. The Head eventually overpowered the Heart with its harsh reality-check.
Fear of failure kicked in with thoughts like "I'm not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, pretty enough etc."
It's the negative voice that dissuades us from moving forward. It discouraged us from doing what we love because of low probability of success and/or high risk of failure. In short, your Head is trying to keep you nice and safe, out of harm's way.
So, when did it happen to you?
Who helped you lose your spark? Was it a parent, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, yourself?
When did your Head overpower your Heart?
How did you choose the path you're on?
If you could go back, what would you do differently?
What do you wish you had the courage to do now?