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Do I Have to Love What I Do?

March 10, 2011

From an E-Myth WorldWide Business Coach

Original post

I want to share a recent conversation I had with a business owner, we’ll call him Jim. Jim owns a construction company in the Midwest. Jim’s been running his business pretty much the same way, with the same results, for about 10 years.

We discussed how he’d gotten into contracting in the first place (it’s a family business), and about the current state of his business (status quo). And then, in the middle of our conversation, Jim, who’d been pretty talkative and open, just stopped talking. I didn’t push. I could tell he was grappling with an idea. I could almost hear the wheels spinning in his head. He paused for what seemed like an eternity and said, “I want to ask you a question.”

And then, in the most sincere and thoughtful way he asked me, “Do I need to love what I do?”

Do I need to love what I do? What a question!  What a good question.

“You see I’ve never found my passion,” Jim continued. “Although my business does pretty well, it doesn’t excite me. I see other people who are doing what they love to do, and I just don’t feel that way. I’m a contractor because it’s what my father did, it’s what I’ve always done, it’s what I know how to do. But do I love it? No, I don’t think I do.”

Understanding What Moves You

Where there ought to be passion, I feel indifference. Where there should be purpose, I feel apathy. Is this really all there is? Because this isn’t what I had in mind when I started my business.

The reality for many business owners is that you’ve worked hard, you’ve done all that you thought you were supposed to do, and now you’ve reached a point of disillusionment. Heck, you might even be questioning if you should be in business at all. You might be thinking about closing up shop and trying something entirely different.

But before you go to any extreme measures, let me tell you what I told Jim, because we’ve worked with many business owners who’ve asked the very same thing.

What Jim is searching for, what so many of us are searching for, is what we call your Primary Aim. Your Primary Aim is what gives you a sense of direction. It motivates you to your highest levels of energy, and puts you at your best. Your Primary Aim is there, within you right now. But most of us simply haven’t identified it.

Jim wants a reason. A purpose. A driving force. He thinks he should be getting it through his business, but until he defines what his Primary Aim is, he won’t find it—anywhere.

We’ve all known people who’ve worked for some high level of achievement only to find that, having reached it, their success is hollow and unsatisfying. We hear this from movie stars all the time, “Fame just isn’t what I thought it would be. All I wanted was for people to love me but now I feel more alone than ever!”

We’ve also known people whose lives, whether successful in the conventional sense or not, experience deep satisfaction and a joyful contentment. Steve Jobs for example. He loves innovating and Apple provides him a vehicle for his passion.

The difference is that, in the first case, “success” was not consistent with the movie star’s Primary Aim. In Steve Job’s case, his Primary Aim is being served.

Become the Creator

Finding your Primary Aim is one of the first things we do in the E-Myth Mastery Coaching program. We do it before we look at your finances. We do it before we look at your organizational structure. It’s that important. It creates a force for guiding your life and the important elements within your life, and among them happens to be your business.

Jim says he doesn’t love his business. So what does he love? What’s his Primary Aim? Identifying what moves him, what drives him, what exhilarates and inspires him will change his perspective on everything. His life, his relationships and his business.

It will give him a new frame of reference for decision making. Understanding his Primary Aim will help set his life’s real priorities, and will put his business in its proper perspective. In a very real way, this will be the foundation for Jim’s business transformation because he’ll be able to step outside of his business, and look at it objectively.

Rather than the business owner, he’ll become the creator.
Rather than a job, the business will become his creation.

He’ll see his business as it really is: a piece of raw clay that he can shape into anything he wants it to be! He’ll be able to work on his business in a whole new way with renewed passion and purpose.

A Final Thought For Jim

So Jim, while the long answer to your question is complicated, and there are a lot of factors at play, the short answer is: yes. Yes, you need to love what you do. In order to find the fulfillment and success you seek… Yes.

But don’t fret; armed with your Primary Aim, the entrepreneur in you will revel in business ownership. You’ll go to work on your business and make great things happen. I’ve seen it happen time and again, and I know you can do it!



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