The first time I heard the adage “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”, I probably thought it was absolutely prophetic and deeply profound, a goal to which to aspire; then I started doing what I love and realized one thing:
That adage is utter horseshit.
I know dozens of people who love what they do with intensity, and you know what? They work their asses off doing what they love, because when you love what you do you are constantly driven to do it better.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Doctor, lawyer, landscaper, realtor, writer; if you love what you do, the truth is that you are likely going to work at it harder, longer, and more aggressively than someone who hates it.
Loving what you do doesn’t mean it isn’t work. In fact, achieving improvement in what you do will almost certainly require work, as gaining experience is the only way to improve. Which means doing more, doing better, doing faster and, yes, doing the work necessary to do more better and faster.
So why does this ridiculous adage exist when it seems to imply that people who love what they do don’t think it is work?
I suspect it is to provide some ambition of a zen state in which work is love and love is work and you never find yourself feeling stretched thin, challenged or even slightly overwhelmed; and yet often what we love does exactly that to us because when we love it we care deeply about it, and the things we care deeply about often push us out of our comfort zones.
I love what I do; in fact I love it with intensity and passion. And I work at it every single day because I do love it, and because I know there is always room to grow and improve. And while I do love it, to suggest it is not work demeans it in every way.
Love what you do. Work your ass off at it. And when it feels like work, don’t feel like you’ve failed because some tired and bullshit adage has tried to tell you that loving what you do means it shouldn’t feel like work. Growth feels like work. Improvement feels like work. And work feels like work, even when you love every second of it.
And that’s okay, no matter what some tired, old and very, very wrong adage tries to claim.
Love what you do. And then, get to work doing it.