I’m frequently accused of being a workaholic. In reality, I spend less time working now as an entrepreneur than I did in the days of working for Fortune 100 companies. Even better, I get to set my own schedule and decide what projects and priorities I have. Two A.M. e-mails and deadlines are not an issue and bring no shame or embarassment. Saturday or Sunday date stamps on e-mails aren’t a sign of “no life,” but of a life that I truly love, and work I am passionate about. Yes, there are days that are too long and scheduling issues that occur, but overall the freedom that comes from a business of my own and work that I love is far and above worth those days that are 36 hours long. Honestly, the long days are often “fun” in their own way, because they bring challenge and enable me to work on projects and with clients that are rewarding.
Work that Isn’t
There are many things that are hard to think of as work when you love doing them. Yes they are part of the work process and they take time. They contribute to the business and are in the overall “content” of what you do; however, they are a joy to do. Like writing this article, for instance; I enjoy writing. Taking a topic, exploring it and letting the words flow onto the page and then sharing it. are part of the “work,” but not a burdensome task. For someone else, it may be torture to write articles and books as part of the work process, but I love it. So yes it is officially work, but then it isn’t “Work,” if you know what I mean.
Do What You Love and …
Whenever you are working on things you are passionate about, then time flies, you enjoy the creativity of learning more about what you do, of researching, finding customers, etc. Just about everything is energizing and you don’t consider it work. (Okay, doing your taxes and certain other tasks will never be fun. But you can look at them as milestones. If you’re paying taxes, you must be making money!)
I remember in one of the first management jobs I had attending a meeting of managers from many different organizations. I was 23 and listening to everyone talk about how long they had until they retired. Some had it calculated down to years, months and days. They looked at me and I said 42 years (using the age of 65 as the milestone they had). In that job at that time, I couldn’t imagine a lifetime doing that work, counting the moments and watching the clock. Not that there weren’t challenges and things that I loved about the job, but I knew I could NEVER work for 42 years for that company in that role. Too many things were WORK.
Looking back today I took with me the things I loved from that first management job, and from the many other roles and industries and experiences along the way. Learning, overcoming challenges, writing, innovating, building companies, understanding processes, structuring solutions, working with diverse groups of people, speaking to groups (large and small), analyzing and diagnosing problems (looking past the symptoms), building alliances, finding different paths … and working long hours … and odd hours.
Do what you love and the success follows. The days can be long or short. The moments fly by and the rewards are tremendous and measured beyond the monetary. If you don’t spend your time doing what you love, then what are you doing? Are you marking time, watching the clock, and counting down the days until you retire? May be it is time to step out of doing what you do and find a way to do what you love for the rest of your life.
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