Do What You Like, and Like What You Do

Do What You Like, and Like What You Do

20 years ago I read a book that was titled something like the title I’ve used here. This book was one of the most important ones I’ve ever read, because it clarified for me a very important distinction: just because I enjoy doing something DOESN’T mean that I ought to be doing it for a living. What do I mean by that?

Liking Something Doesn’t Mean It’s Good as A Career!

Think about it this way. You may enjoy doing something, but it may not be good for you to do as a job, simply because you may not enjoy other work-related tasks that inevitably come with that particular thing.

Take my career, for example. As a strength and nutrition coach, I’m certainly doing what I like. Back in ’03, when I decided to lose my weight, I began to become passionate about what it meant to eat healthily, and how to exercise properly to maintain optimal muscle mass. That’s why I decided to leave my career as a Sales Analyst in 2006 and take up personal training full-time.

Being a trainer, however, isn’t just about eating healthy and exercising. It’s about teaching others to do that. So being a trainer requires the skill of teaching: what if I didn’t enjoy teaching? I wouldn’t enjoy my work very much then, would I? What if I was a complete introvert as well, and didn’t enjoy working with people? This job would be downright torture, if that were the case!

Can you see the difference? For work, I can be doing what I like, but not liking what I do. That wouldn’t be good.

Be a Double-Winner to Lose Weight!

We need to both do what we like AND like what we do: that’s what I call being a double-winner. Since I’m a strength and nutrition coach who’s passionate about helping people lose weight permanently, and since I enjoy teaching and working with people, the job is ideal for me. I truly do what I like, and like what I do.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of the job that I struggle with. I’m NOT a finance guy, so recording sales, expenses, and doing banking is just no fun. I’m also not a guy who enjoys doing admin work, but that needs to be done as well.

All things considered, however, doing these things are small prices to pay in order to be able to work for myself and do what I love doing. It really works for me!

What Does Enjoying My Work Have to Do With Weight Loss?

Everything. It has EVERYTHING to do with it.

Many people really don’t seem to enjoy their work, and that’s sad. My friend Nicole in Montréal works for an awesome company, and has NOTHING bad to say about her work. I know a few others who really love what they do as well, but many seem to not be highly “engaged” (I love that buzzword!) with their work.

The reason is simple: many of us sacrifice enjoyment for a higher salary. We don’t like the work, but we need the money. And that’s fair: we can understand why people would do that. Today, especially in the area I live in, the cost of living is very high, and we really can only afford to offer our time and skills to the highest bidder.

But what if you could manufacture the ideal job for yourself? What if you could be doing what you’re passionate about, and using all of the skills, talents abilities you like to use, at the same time? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t you – more days than not – just bounce out of bed to get to it? Wouldn’t you feel good, connected, engaged, hopeful, happy and alive?

Contrast those feelings with how we feel when we’re doing work we don’t like. It’s a slog. We “drag our butts” to work. We don’t like the people around us. The tasks we do are brutal, and we can’t imagine having to do them for the rest of our lives.

Is that any way to live? Furthermore, if we have weight to lose, are we really going to be able to do it with these sorts of ideas, emotions and attitudes? If that’s what I’m going through, I’ll tell you for sure that I’m going to reach for the starchy/carby/fatty food to comfort myself.

So What Should We Do?

It’s critical that we try our best to align what we do for a living, with who we are as people.

First, I’d suggest you seek someone out who can take you through a process that determines your Meyers-Briggs type. This is a test/inventory that helps people understand the “type” of person that they are.

From this “typing”, we can then look at careers that align with who we are, how we’re made up.

Next, brainstorm. Ask friends to join you, and think of possible jobs/careers you could do that would line up with who you are and what you like to do. Dream big! Don’t let anything limit you! I know a man who became a lawyer at age 40, having been a government food inspector for his entire previous career! Don’t let your thinking say you cannot do this or that thing. You can!

Then you need to decide what it is you want to do. Choose it. Write it down. And write down a date by which you’ll get there.
Next, determine what steps you need to take to get to the career you’ve chosen. Is there and educational stream required? Is there internship requirements? Do you need money to get the training required? Do you have the money? Do you have the time to take the training required?

Then take action. Just do it!

Maybe this all sounds too simple, but it isn’t, really. It’s up to you, but your weight loss may just hang on both doing what you like, AND liking what you do!