You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. -Steve Jobs, excerpted from his 2005 Stanford University commencement address
I remember one hot August evening, sitting with my husband after putting our three boys to bed for the night. It was one of those nights where exhaustion was a key word, yet I still had energy. I felt restless …
I had to ask the question, WHY? I was living a vivid dream. I had always hoped to be a mom, and our boys at that time were tiny–ages 4, 2, and 1. It was fun, and yet demanding in a way I had never imagined. Being a mom (and having fun at it) is hard work! I loved what I was doing, but I felt like something was missing. Something that was me, the essence of me.
My husband asked, then, “Well, what can I do to help? What do you want to do? Go back to work?” I couldn’t imagine going back to work full-time for my degree, mechanical engineering. I had the degree from a prestigious university, but it was something I didn’t like doing or even remotely enjoy. What did I want to do? What had I always wanted to do?
“No. No engineering, no matter what the pay. Can’t do it.” Long pause. A whisper came out that took us both by surprise. “I want to write a book.”
From that day forward, I knew what my heart wanted to do. Write. What began with non-fiction soon veered toward what I truly love: writing novels. And though it is long, hard work full of endless study, critique, and rejection while trying to break in, it is what I love. A matter of the heart.
I love Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech from 2005 because I find it to be so true. He talks about the Calligraphy class he took in college and how it later affected his development work with Apple. (My favorite class at college was Flower Arranging.) Those little things, the pieces of life that we enjoy but don’t really add up at the time, someday can be seen as a dot on an ever-emerging picture. That picture is us, individually and collectively, doing and immersing ourselves in the work that we love deeply. The picture of doing what we were created to do is amazing — the sky is the limit with the possibilities. Just ask Steve Jobs, college drop-out and calligraphy connoisseur. It’s amazing what we can do when we pour our hearts into our work, and become our best because we’re doing what we love to do.
How about you? What do you love to do? Haven’t found it yet? I’ve heard advice on finding what it is we love to do — three things to consider:
1) What is it that you loved to do as a child and growing up?
2) What can you be doing and lose complete track of time? When five hours feels like five minutes?
3) What does the quiet tug on your heart tell you that you’ve always wanted to try?
Probably the best thing is not to quit the day job to do what you love, at least at first. Even Steve Jobs started working with his dreams from his parents’ garage.
Start small, pursue the dream, don’t give up.
How about you? Have you found what you love to do? Any tips to share on trying to find that thing that you love to do?