If you don’t love it, don’t do it

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Let me but do my work from day to day
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
“This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
“Of all who live, I am the one by whom
“This work can best be done in the right way.”

Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the labouring hours,
And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.

The poem (above) by 19th century poet Henry Van Dyke titled Let Me Do My Work speaks of something I believe is very important in business and evident in every successful business, passion and purpose.

The happiest and most dynamic people I have met in business are those who have their “cup filled” by their work, they derive real pleasure and a feeling of fulfilment in their career.

Some may say this a very privileged and “ivory tower” ideal, and I will admit I am very fortunate that for nearly 20 years I have been well renumerated doing a job that I love.

This has granted me the opportunity to see my work create real positive change in my clients’ lives. I do my job because I love it. Frankly, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it. I do it for my clients, but more crucially because it is how I would spend my days if I could choose to do anything.

When someone loves their work, they do it better. They radiate happy, satisfied energy which flows on to create high quality products, services and customer experiences.

I recently visited a new Israeli restaurant in the Historic Village which inspired this article.

Being in an environment where every member of staff obviously loved what they did, were proud of the food that they created and made each dish to a high standard because it represented their heritage, passion and values was a great reminder to me of the value in loving what you do.

The service, food and energy in that place were of such high quality I believe if I’d asked anyone working there, “if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose?” they would respond, “right here”. You cannot fake that level of satisfaction or feeling of purpose. It was privilege to witness.

When you hear a painter whistling while they work with a big smile on their face you will see a job well done.

When the builder beams with pride and satisfaction while showing you their completed work you will see perfect joins and no remedials needed.

When the happy panel beater hands you back the keys to your pride and joy with a satisfied look on their face you will find matched paint and even shut lines.

When you truly enjoy what you do you provide better service, a better product, a better environment. You build a better reputation, with fewer bad payers and fewer disputes.

When we have a dispute about poor workmanship in the trades and observe the tradesperson at work, we normally see a person who would rather be anywhere else than doing what they are doing.

Why spend life doing something you hate while disappointing people? What kind of life is that? This may seem brutal but if you don’t like it, don’t do it … find your passion, train in it, get good, then get going. Just a thought.

Related: I hate saying, “I told you so”

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Nick Kerr
Nick Kerr
Nick Kerr is the director of IPI Group Limited. He can be reached on 021 876 527 and nick@nzipi.com.

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