“Life is short!” We’ve all heard that a million times. The older I get, the more I feel the truth in that statement. I sometimes wish my younger self paid closer attention to it.

We shouldn’t be spending the vast majority of our awake time every day doing something we don’t love to do. Loving what you do is so important for finding fulfillment and avoiding burnout.

I found an awesome blog post about loving what you do at ‘101 Do What You Love Quotes.’ Fun to read through all of them. I grabbed ten to share with you that I especially liked and/or were said by people I thought you might be interested in hearing from:

  • 1. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. — Marc Anthony
  • 2. When asked, “Mr. Gandhi, you have been working fifteen hours a day for fifty years. Don’t you think you should take a vacation?” Gandhi smiled and replied, “I am always on vacation.” — Gandhi
  • 5. I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. – George Burns
  • 13. You’ve got to find what you love. 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. — Steve Jobs
  • 19. There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. — Nelson Mandela
  • 25. Work without love is slavery. ― Mother Teresa
  • 67. The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make. — Mark Twain
  • 85. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it. — Ray Bradbury
  • 89. Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. — Malcolm Gladwell
  • 91. To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.
 — Sister Mary Lauretta

Maybe you’ve lost the J-O-Y in your work?

Maybe running your business is starting to feel more like doing a J-O-B?

If that’s the case, how did you get here? More importantly, how do you get back to enjoying your work?

Let’s consider both…

How did you get to this place where you no longer enjoy the work? Ironically, sometimes growing your business (having more “success”) creates more pain, not less.

The team gets bigger. There are more customers to take care of and more moving parts in the business that can go wrong. The list of to-dos never seems to end and you spend most of your time reacting to everything coming at you. Not fun! And it never stops…

You feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. And you can’t get away from it. It goes with you to the grocery store. It goes with you to your kid’s soccer game or to the school play, band or orchestra performance. It follows you to that special dinner or night out with your significant other or spouse.

If you get to go on vacation at all, you are doing this balancing act where you try to figure out when you can squeeze in this task or that phone call. Maybe you get up early and stay up late to take care of the fires burning back at the office while your family is asleep. Your lack of sleep makes the vacation anything but relaxing and you may even be extra cranky with your loved ones.

No wonder your successful business is starting to feel like a J-O-B! At least if you had a job, you could just punch a clock and not have to worry about EVERYTHING that goes on in the business. You could keep decent hours and have your evenings and weekends to be a little (or a LOT) more carefree with family and friends.

I once had a customer write up something to describe what his life was like before working with us. His name is Bill Harney, and he is the CEO of a company called Keeping Current Matters. Here’s what Bill said,

“Business was slowing – maybe even on the verge of stalling. I was working 70-80 hour work weeks just getting things done. I thought I had to do everything myself in order for it to be right. And I didn’t know where we were going to be in a year, nor how to get there. But I was convinced that there had to be a better way. Too many people less talented than I was were successful, so why couldn’t it be me too? But I needed help. I couldn’t get there on my own.”

OK. Enough of pulling you down with the heaviness of your situation…let’s talk about how to bring the J-O-Y back to your work and help you rediscover that sense of loving what you do!

I’m going to give you a few ideas that I hope will be helpful. If you feel like you are at a point where it just feels hopeless, don’t count yourself out. We’ve seen business owners turn their situations completely around to the point where they are actually having fun and joy again in their work.

Idea #1: You need to bring the power of Purpose into your business. Most of us have heard the story about the janitor at NASA who, when asked about their job, responded that they weren’t just cleaning the floors…they were helping to put a man on the moon! Getting clear on your Purpose is not some cheesy management trick to get your people to work harder. It is the thing that breathes life into your business.

As Jim Collins teaches…setting the Vision is the number one responsibility of every leader. And, if you do it well, you will find that you have rediscovered meaning in your work again. The hard stuff won’t just be a pile of work that gives you that feeling of dread. The work before you will be the things that enable you to make a difference in the world. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. If there is no Purpose behind your work, it is much, much easier to experience burnout.

Idea #2: You need to get clear on the Values you share in your business and then Hire, Lead and Fire to them. When you articulate a set of Core Values for the business what you are really doing is defining the core attributes and behaviors of the people who will fit well on your team. Filling your team with the right people (and removing the people who don’t belong) will do more for you that you might imagine. Not only will you enjoy being around these people (because you all share the same Values), but you will find that more work is getting done with fewer speed bumps and unpleasant interpersonal friction along the way.

Idea #3: You need to grow yourself as a leader so you can spend more time working ON the business instead of burning yourself out IN the business. Your business cannot grow any further than your ability to lead it. If you are stuck working like crazy to do everything required IN the business to keep it going, you won’t be able to lead the company-building, future-enabling work required to move beyond the point you are today. When you stop growing as a leader, you may as well consign yourself to the hamster wheel called J-O-B, because that is what you will have created for yourself. The only way to get out from underneath the weight that you feel on your shoulders is to learn how to become a leader…to set a powerful Vision, build and align a team to that Vision and give the right people more ownership. You can learn how to take chunks of that weight you feel and assign ownership of those responsibilities to capable team members if you’ll learn how to become a better leader.

In the past 2 decades, there has been more scientific research about happiness than ever before. I am not a happiness expert, but here’s what I have learned about happiness at work. People like to have as much autonomy as possible (the ability to direct their own work). You have that as a business owner so I haven’t spent time on it today.

The other three things people need to be happy at work:

  1. Happy people are involved in meaningful work… to know that their work matters, that they are contributing to something greater (Purpose was the first Idea that I shared with you today).
  2. Happy people enjoy personal connections at work. In other words, they like the people they work with and feel some identity with them… think of this as a sense of team/belonging/esprit de corp (Hiring, Leading, and Firing to a set of clearly articulated Values will facilitate this).
  3. Happy people feel a sense of progress. They are growing, learning, getting better. (Idea #3 that I shared with you). You can make the transition from scrappy, gritty, will-it-forward founder/entrepreneur to a capable and confident (and happy) business builder, but you have to work on developing as a leader.

A little earlier, I told you what Bill Harney wrote to us about his business stalling and how much he was working and how he didn’t know what to do. Well…we taught him what to do. He set a powerful Vision with his Team. Their Vision includes “a belief that every family should feel confident when buying and selling a home.” They created a set of Values that guides their day-to-day behavior and helps them know what type of people would make great team members for them. They’ve created and nurtured an amazing culture. Their team absolutely loves to work there. In fact, Bill’s company was recognized multiple times as one of the Top 25 Best Small Workplaces in America. How cool is that?!

Bill wrote a “rest of the story” type of email to us where he shared what it was like to triple their revenue WHILE getting more balance back in his life and having joy again in his work. In his own words, Bill said:

“I want to tell you a story from ‘the other side. The side where your business is booming, your team energizes you every day, you’re no longer stuck in the weeds, and you have the confidence to make the ‘right decision’ instead of the ‘urgent decision.’

What changed? It’s honestly quite simple. I signed up for Elite Ignition. I learned. I studied. But most importantly, I implemented. I trusted the process and believed the results would come. And boy did they. You see, Elite Ignition and the Elite Programs aren’t marketing workshops or software classes…but it’s been the key to our 3x growth in the last 24 months. I learned how to be a CEO and not just an entrepreneur. I learned how to set and communicate a big vision – the right way! My team is inspired and motivated. The growth that I’ve seen from every person on the team has been mind-blowing. And my growth has changed me forever.”

Bill was actually one of my earliest guests on the Elite Entrepreneurs podcast. You can go back to episode 6 to hear Bill share some of the lessons he learned as he went from a very chaotic pace running a $1M business to a much more calmed and balanced life running a business that is now well beyond $5M in revenue.

If you are a 7-figure business owner who has found that you’ve created a demanding and exhausting J-O-B for yourself, we can help you turn that J-O-B into J-O-Y. Loving what you do is totally doable. We know the proven path. We can teach it to you. For more information, I encourage you to go to our website: www.growwithelite.com and download our free eBook about the Elite Business Growth Method.

Thanks for listening. Join us next time to hear other 7-figure business owners and experts share the things that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls we all encounter after we hit that 7-figure revenue mark.