Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is Love?

Some say love is never having to say you are sorry. Others say it is being able to shoot someone who outdrew ya. The truth probably lies somewhere in between and with Valentine’s Day in the US right around the corner, many of us are thinking it through.
After the song “What is Love” by Haddaway works its way out of your brain, set to thinking and writing about what you believe love is. 
So that is the rule for this week's Let's Blog Off Post.

Well, what is love? The possible directions I can take with this post are limitless. If so compelled I could talk about fleeting adolescent romance or Silver Anniversaries. I could discuss the passion and love that drives SEC football fans to arise at 3:30 AM on Saturdays in the fall to start tailgating -- and for some, never going to bed. I could talk about my love of cheese grits and fried catfish and how they always make me feel at home no matter how far away I may be. I could regale you with my love affair of warm sheets right out of the dryer. Perhaps you'd like to know about how I love the way a fresh can of tennis balls smells when you first open it or how I love peanut butter so much that I have seriously put it on every food type to see if it enhances the flavor.

I could do all that, but I won't.

I want to talk about something more serious: The Love that comes from a profession.

What is required to love one's job? Is it plush furniture in a corner office, or friendly co-workers, or all that lofty compensation & personal time off? Is it the fringe benefits? Is it the office March Madness pool or Super Bowl party? Is it a casual Friday or after-work Happy Hours? Or is it none of those at all? Do we actually derive the love of work from the satisfaction of a job well done?

Do I presume that every employed individual that makes a decent living loves his or her job? No. In fact, many folks abhor what they do so much that they allow it to consume them and ruin their lives. Conversely, there are many people who work unglorified positions, making average wages, working long, tiring hours who love what they do. So what separates them? Pride. Pride in what we do.

Unlike many of my colleagues in the building industry, I do not have the pleasure of designing a family's dream home. I do not wield any architectural prowess, thus the joy that must come from envisioning a building that perfectly matches the surrounding landscape, designing it, and overseeing as it comes to life will never be one I experience. Likewise, I have never set foot inside a dated kitchen or bathroom, listened to a customer describe how they want it to be, then through my renovation, made that a reality. The pride and attention to detail these professions require leaves little question regarding the LOVE that is poured into them by the men and women who wear the badges of Architect, Designer, Remodeler, Homebuilder, Developer, etc.

It is no small secret of being a successful small business owner; if you don't have a passion and love what you do, you'll never work hard enough to achieve success. Conversely, as business motivation author Ken Blanchard puts it, "If no one will pay you to do what you love, you have a hobby, not a career."

So in order to succeed you have to 1) love your work and 2) people need to be willing to pay you to do it.

All this introduction leads me to my point. I love what I do. Although, I will never help a homeowner picture the addition that could be added to their house to give their children more play room, or expand their cramped workspace, or afford them the master bathroom they have dreamed of, and unlike a teacher, I will not give a child the gift of knowledge so she can go forth to one day walk on the moon, cure disease, or become a Senator, I'll say it again, I love what I do.

The best I can hope for is to help create a comfortable mood in an interior space with a earthen toned paint or a vibrant, uplifting space with a sunflower-yellow or pastel orange paint. On exterior surfaces, I help customers make a lasting investment in a paint alternative that is higher in quality and delivers longer lasting performance.

This is an admirable task, and one that I aim to take pride in and do well, but can I love my task equally as an architect loves his? Is my job as important and thus, requiring of as much passion? These are the questions that I often ask myself. And I have arrived at this one simple answer. Yes.

We may find ourselves in roles far from the ones we dreamed of as children -- I'm certainly no Paleontologist even though Jurassic Park had me convinced I'd spend my life unearthing dinosaurs. But to take pride in all that we do, that is true love. I take pride in creating a great customer experience, in completing the little tasks with a superb fashion, and bringing an enthusiastic attitude into every aspect of our business.

To me, there is no greater satisfaction than to have a customer call to thank me, not for the quality of work done by one of our distributor's application teams, not for the outstanding performance and reliability of our paints, but because throughout the process, I made the situation an enjoyable and pleasant one for them.

We cannot sit around hoping that our desk jobs will suddenly transform into the work of Disney Imagineers - but we can learn to love what we do because we love taking pride in all that we do.

The inspiration for this post came to me while listening to this song -- it captures the essence of the idea much better than I could ever hope to.

I commit my heart to the challenge of being the best I can be, and I take pride in every aspect of my work, and for that, I love what I do.

What about you? Do you love your job? If so, why? If not, why aren't you seeking something better?

Check out some more of the "Let's Blog Off" Gang below!!

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