January 31, 2006

Love What You Do, Do What you Love

Paul Graham says it in a rather lengthy way, here.

Duh. I mean, I'm not trying to be sarcastic. But really, 4 years ago, I stated that from that moment on I wouldn't work on anything I didn't love, and I would only work on things I loved. (I needed to say it redundantly, because it felt wobbly inside, saying it out-loud. I was terrified.) As soon as I said, it I knew I could never go back. A door had closed. The old way was over and no longer reachable. I could not understand the old way of thinking any longer. The new way had clarity, passion and intensity.

It doesn't mean I don't do a lot of hard, trying, difficult, long work, but I have to say, the overall goal, the project, the commitment, must be something I love. And frankly I haven't worked for a second in the past four years. And I work all the time. Because it's not work. Down with work that you hate! Do only work that you love. And the work will pour in, you will have more choices that you know what to do with, the quality will be high, the satisfaction will be high, your life will change, and your free time will become so much more satisfying.

In fact, I used to watch the clock to know when to quit the old kind of work I did. Now I'm afraid to look at the clock at all, because I have so much I want and need to do. I was recently at an event in NY where this woman spent an hour telling me how passionately she wanted to do some particular thing with her life, and when I said, "...you've got to quit everything else and start now to do it!" She backed away from her passion and made a million excuses about why she couldn't do it. It was all crap, and I think she knew it, but she was scared. Sometimes it's easier to be comfortable than it is to be healthy.

Love what you do, do what you love. I think it's pretty simple. Be healthy. Don't give in the fear. Do what you love.

Posted by Mary Hodder at January 31, 2006 10:56 PM | TrackBack

I found out about you on Gidaom.
Your post struck a chord with me.
I started my concierge and errands business 2 years ago. For the first year as I had a work accident (at my salaried job)that created a lot of health and financial havoc. The business was more a sideline activity.
As things got more settled in the second year, I put more effort and focus in the business, growing slowly but steadily.
I also started a blog, 'Serge the Concierge', about 10 months ago. I realized that I enjoy that writing part as well. I still hold my job that pays the bills. I do realize though that for the business to be truely successful, I have to make it the main focus. So this is where I stand today.

Take care

Posted by: Serge Lescouarnec at February 2, 2006 07:49 AM

Hi Serge,
What a great story.. not the part about the accident, but about overcoming it and getting to do what you love, and writing about it on your blog!

You know, your blog can be a great way to create conversation about your business and your interests, and about what others do in the same space, and I would encourage you to make it an indirect way to work on your business.

Great story and good luck to you!

Posted by: mary hodder at February 2, 2006 07:59 AM

Love What You DO, DO What you Love ==> that is a good guidance slogan. You can love wipe humans for good find or the love for the thing for the place or even my work. The term is very extensively out to put sorry English for my bad allso.

beautiful greets from Austria.

Posted by: Oswald at February 2, 2006 06:36 PM

Ah, but Paul Graham made a bundle in the bubble, so he can afford to sermonize.

Sorry, what about all the cases where doing what you love doesn't produce any income? "And the work will pour in ..." - No, it won't. In any field, there's X jobs, and Y people. If X < Y, *someone* is going to go jobless. What's love got to do with it?

There's a confirmation bias. Because people who do what they love, and succeed well, often tell their stories, but people who do what they love and fail miserably get much less opportunity to have widely distributed essays about "Do It For The Money", and also have much less inclination to preach about it.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at February 4, 2006 03:57 PM

Seth brings up a great point, and it is really subtle and quite slippery. The abundant life isn't accessible until one is ready for it. It would be really useful if there were a way for people to better discern their readiness for leaping into the void of self-motivation. But once you hit that transition point, and you cross the threshhold, Mary is 100% spot on. Nothing done is a burden any longer. It's all a labor of love, and the work will pour in. It may not all pay huge dividends (or it may), but it will be completely worth it.

As for myself, I made and lost a bundle in the bubble. I can't afford to sermonize, but I will say this: losing that bundle was the best thing that ever happened to me. I only wish more people could have the chance. The bundle isn't the gift, it's a prison... until you truly get abundance, no amount is ever enough. Once you get the essence of "abundance," every amount is precisely right. I'm sure this sounds like complete hog-wash to Seth. No problem, and no fault of anybody. Best to play it safe until that is so painful that it can't be tolerated any longer.

Posted by: David Swedlow at February 8, 2006 07:41 PM

I didn't find this post the least bit preachy"... on the contrary, it's a great reminder for those of us who would much rather fail miserably than not try at all. It's a personal choice/preference to view life in this way, and Mary -- you speak loud and clear to those of us who do : )

You're an inspiration.

Posted by: Kathy Sierra at February 14, 2006 04:35 PM