On a recent family vacation, I was sitting around with my brother-in-law, Mike, enjoying the quiet after we had all put our kids to bed.
I’d noticed that he’d been wearing a t-shirt with his company logo on it all week. The shirt is dark gray, with five Post-It notes on the front. Each one is a play on silly conversations and ideas had around his office.
“Research how astronauts pee,” one says. “Storyline: Fairies vs. yeti” another reads. The company logo is on the back. Underneath it instructs you to “Love what you do.”
“Tell me what you’re excited about at work,” I said.
Mike is the CEO of PGAV Destinations, a design and planning firm specializing in worldwide attractions. (They designed the Space Shuttle Atlantis experience at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, for instance.) And he, without a doubt, loves what he does.
He passionately rattled off several PGAV projects on his docket, never failing to credit everyone involved.
“This isn’t me,” he said. “This is the people.”
Isn’t it so wonderfully uplifting to be around someone who’s energized by their work and the people they do it with? I talked to Mike for hours about his company, culling his brain about the importance of culture, empathy, and creativity.
As he talked, I felt myself being reminded of why I love what I do. What gets me jazzed to head to my office each week? What am I currently working on that I can’t help but talk about? I was inspired—and grateful to Mike for loving what he does so much that it overflowed to me.
I’m currently working with a few clients who are struggling to remove their golden handcuffs. They don’t enjoy what they do, but they feel beholden because of retirement packages, benefits, etc. I get that, but after talking to Mike, I’m placing so much value in passion.
If you don’t love what you’re doing today, if you aren’t finding at least some moments of true joy in your work, I encourage you to talk with someone who does.
Maybe, like Mike did for me, that person will remind you of what makes you tick—or inspire you to look for something that does.
Struggling to love what you do? I’m an executive coach who works with clients nationwide. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.