At some point in any career, we all reach a point of asking ourselves “why am I doing this?” Whether it’s the daily grind of 9-5, the blood, sweat, and tears of a startup, or the many hats of owning a business, there’s always a tradeoff and a reward. But, hopefully for all of us, we are able to confidently answer the question of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it with a response involving words like “passion,” “value,” and “worthwhile.”
Work is something that can either be a necessary evil or give us a way for us to make a positive difference. People decide to start their own business for a number of reasons. Some simply don’t want to work for anyone else; others are driven by interest and skill in a particular industry; others simply needed to get creative and find a way to make ends meet to pay the bills. Despite the reasons you started your entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy for something that started with passion to fall into the rut of being just a job. Beyond the semantics, there’s a very big difference between a job and passion-driven work.
A job has the connotation of being obligatory. It’s a place, a company, a team, and a career we’re overall not attached to. We show up, give it our best, but our primary motivation isn’t the work itself, it’s other things like paying the mortgage, being able to send the kids to college, and hopefully finding a way to retire comfortably as soon as we hit 65.
A business driven by passion is about more than a job, it’s about pursuing a calling. When our work is backed by passion, it becomes a place where we truly invest ourselves. We don’t find it hard to pour our time, energy, and ideas into what we do. It’s natural to make sacrifices for the mission, vision, and people of our business.
So how do we make sure our 40-60 hours of work a week are spent on something more important than just a job? Here are a few thoughts.
Continually remind yourself why.
Keep your mission and vision in the forefront of your decisions and daily work. Being mindful of the underlying reasons why you’re doing what you do will help you carry on when the going gets tough.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
Don’t get sidetracked by allowing lesser goals become more important than they should be. Letting those little things become too important will ultimately steer you away from accomplishing the goals you started out with.
Step away and get perspective.
Fully investing yourself in something takes a lot of virtue, which can be exhausting unless you take time to recharge yourself. And exhausted people are unhappy people who usually have a skewed outlook. Make sure you block out time to step away, recharge, and get perspective.
Allow businesss to evolve.
When things become mundane, add a fresh idea. Whether you’re the one to come up with it or you seek outside input, allow things to evolve. Just because you started with something good doesn’t mean it can’t become better, and unless we let things evolve even good things become boring.
So we’ll pose the question to you: do you own a job, or do you own a business driven by passion? Is the passion you started with sustaining you now? How do you avoid falling into the rut of a “job”?