Today I want to talk to you about loving what you do, about seeing it in a broader perspective.
I recently read this quote from Seth Godin:
Instead of, ‘do what you love’ perhaps the more effective mantra for the entrepreneur… might be, ‘love what you do’.
It made me think about how there are two perspectives to doing work you love. I usually think of myself as someone who do what I love and love what I do. How can they not be interlinked, right?
But then some time ago, I got a large package from a restaurant customer of mine, containing 10 of my candlesticks plus some other work – they had sent it back for the annual clean.
Receiving that BIG box of silverware to clean suddenly made me feel resistance, like it took precious time away from doing what I love: which is creating new work.
Being in the creative making business, I love being in the magic inspired making space where time disappears and I feel light and full of ideas.
To me it is more about the process of creating, creative problem solving, developing ideas and making, than it was about what happened once the work was sold.
I never used to think of serving my customers as equally fulfilling for me, as being in my own headspace doing my creative thing.
Serving customers was a necessary evil, if I wanted to be a professional silversmith, so I learned how to do it, but wasn’t really feeling it. It might make me sound like a very egocentric creative, but I think the main motivation for creatives doesn’t start with serving others, it starts with creativity, making and mastering a skill. (more on this later)
I have a free cleaning policy for large customers, because I know it’s one of the biggest worries they have, not because I love cleaning silver – or at least that’s how it was up until that day, when I sat in front of all those candlesticks.
Sitting there staring at all those candlesticks, with all my resistance, something started to shift. I started to look at them, all the marks they had gotten as evidence of the rough life in a restaurant, how they had all changed in shape as they had been handled everyday. I started to notice the patina and I realised how the process I had started by making them had continued in the hands of the owners.
I saw how my work had created value for my customer, and that made me really happy. I then realised how I was creating more value by cleaning it, that by serving customers I was doing really important work.
Now suddenly cleaning customer silver, became a precious act, like catching up with old friends. I was loving what I was doing, instead of just doing what I love.
“If we fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.”