July 04, 2007
I was in Rome, Italy some weeks ago. After strolling around in the old town for a couple hours I felt the need to grab a bite. So I stopped at a small restaurant, sat down and decided to order a pasta fettuccine and a glass of white.
The waiter, perhaps in his 50s, comes up to me and not only takes my order but treats me like a celebrity, like I was the only thing that mattered. It is hard to put the finger on it, but his charisma, the way he sets the table, folds the napkin, lays out the silverware, uses subtle gestures and facial expressions is close to perfection - truly a master of his craft. It a matter of minimalism and style, the way he pays attention to the tiniest detail. It really shines through that he takes pride in, and loves, his job.
We all have a lesson to learn here. If you feel stuck and trapped at work, not doing things you are passionate and care about, then I think you have two options:
- Try to change your mind set. Care about your work. Set high bars, strive for perfection, pay attention to the details. Never settle – constantly try improve and challenge the way you work and think. Take pride in what you do and you will (hopefully) not only learn to love it, but people will notice and you will make a difference.
- Or…quit and find something else to do.
You've got to find what you love....for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something...almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Love what you do.