When people say, ‘find a job you love and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life,’ I don’t believe them.
When you give it your all, work feels like work. It can be challenging and tiring and sometimes you have to meet crazy deadlines, because that’s the job. Of course you can love what you do – and we do – and still find yourself stressed or overwhelmed, or mulling something over because you’re trying to work out the best way of doing it.
Work is work. And, while we talk a lot about working with people with purpose, we’re also aware of what a luxury that is. It’s an amazing thing to talk about. But it’s also an incredibly privileged position to be in. Because what makes us passionate and energised doesn’t always make a great – or viable – career choice. Or I’d be a professional tennis player – which I suspect has its own stresses and strains – or spend my days hanging around watching people move furniture. Which might not have so many…
There’s a great blog on Medium by Darius Foroux, called The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness. It comes from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says: ‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’
And that’s because doing things well is hard work. Sometimes it’s slogging away and gritting your teeth; somethings it’s doing things and tweaking things and changing things, again and again, until it’s right.
We don’t do things because they’re nice, or they’re easy; because we can make them look pretty or because we get paid to take the money and keep our mouths shut.
We’re lucky to do what we do here. We meet amazing people and hear great stories, and are regularly humbled by other business’ ability to change things for the better and make their own impact.
But I’ve also had many, many sleepless nights worrying about how to pay the bills; about too much work, or the thought of never working again. There have been some dark times, especially running a business on my own. And that’s still within a job I love the ‘work’ side of.
Nothing’s perfect. Increasingly social media, and its penchant for the ‘curated life’ suggest to us that it’s all plain sailing and hazy sunsets. But it’s. Not. Like. That. And we need to be honest about it.
Not being afraid of the difficult bits means it’s thorough. It’s not superficial. We’ll come back to it; we’ll challenge it. Hell, we make life pretty hard for ourselves sometimes, if we think it gets a better job done for you. Because we love what we do we work really hard at it. Really hard.
And that’s the crux. Going back to Emerson, it’s a life well lived; a job well done. Work that feels like work.