Where, Oh Where is the Love?
“For the past 33 years, I have looked myself in the mirror and asked myself: if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Steve Jobs, from 2005 Stanford University commencement speech
Are you doing what you love to do? As most of us have discovered by now, every career, profession, or job has good parts and the not so good parts to it. To achieve success in any chosen area, we will experience ups and downs, highs and lows, wicked hard work, and days of sheer frustration. No job, relationship, or series of life experiences is completely idyllic or devoid of strife. But when we really love the totality of what we are doing, where we are going, and what we are creating, the sweat and frustration seem worth it somehow.
My intent with this post today is to cause you to pause and reflect on those insightful words from Steve Jobs and ask you this obvious yet oh so important question:
Do you know what you love to do, and are you doing it most of the time?
If not—why not?
Perhaps you can recall a time when you identified something you love to do, and just couldn’t get enough of doing it? I know I can.
I had a clue of what I loved to do pretty early on, when I competed in my first series of original speech contests in elementary school. When I look back at the speeches now, it is fascinating that all the themes were about self-empowerment. “Learning from People Different than You” and Standing Up for Yourself” were my award-winning topics in second grade.
In my senior year in high school I wrote and delivered a speech that won first place in a Forensic competition of the American Schools in Europe. The title of the speech was “Society’s Impact on Man” and was a motivational, inspirational speech about self-empowerment, being yourself, and developing the voice and confidence to not let others define who you are and who you become in your life.
I was 17 years old, and I have no idea where the content of that speech came from. All I know is that when I climbed the stairs and took the stage in front of all those people and piercing panel of judges in the finals, something surreal came over me. I felt like I was standing in a familiar room and had given this same speech a thousand times before. A deep knowing, passion, and voice that was beyond my years and comprehension came out of my mouth that day. People in the audience were in tears.
After the speeches and the awards, the judges handed us their comments and scoring sheets to take with us. Written on one of the sheets in big letters under all the judges’ comments was a note I still have kept to this day.
“You are meant to inspire and motivate people in this world to find their greatness— FOLLOW this path.”
I’m not sure I fully understood those words back then, as I was more enamored by winning the trophy at 17, and the whole notion of achievement. And I think I lost sight of the path for years—chasing titles and status and more conventional approval and achievement.
But I always knew and know what I love to do, and it is depicted in the title of my weekly blog posts. I love to help people maximize their impact, which in essence, to me is the same as the judge wrote on that piece of paper a few decades ago. To inspire people to “find their greatness”.
Strange, isn’t it? Or maybe it isn’t so strange.
It was the beginning of my life-long love story. I only share it with you so that you might think about yours.
What about you? What do you love to do?
Are you doing it on a regular basis?
If not—why not?
What changes do you need to make to love what you are doing?
How can you find the love if you have lost sight of it?
How can you bring more of what you love doing into your day to day life, even in little bits?
How can you live your own love story?
I’ll leave you with some final words from Steve Jobs in that same speech I started this post with:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
These are my words now–Get back in touch with what you love and bring it on!