8 Habits of People Who Love What They Do

Credit — Ian Schneider

There’s been an almost unwavering focus on the gig economy lately, underscored by a rise in freelancers and the mobile office. The ability to monetize simple tasks, like driving and running errands, on platforms like Uber and Hello Alfred, is making it easier to step out of the traditional 9–5 hustle.

Couple that with the fact that entrepreneurs are the new celebrities, thanks to shows like Shark Tank and mentors like Mark Zuckerberg, and the trend for us to pursue our passions and pave our own way is increasingly romanticized.

Yet, most of us are still miserable in our careers, whether we built them or not. Workplace stress costs the U.S. economy as much as $190 billion every year in healthcare bills. Sick days, anxiety and depression are all fairly commonplace. Workplace stress even contributes to as many as 120,000 deaths every year.

So, even with the ability to design our own lives, something clearly needs to be addressed. Whether it’s a change in career or a change in outlook, check out these eight habits of people who love what they do.

1. They make their morning count

Loving what you do is easier when you clear away the clutter in your brain and focus on the tasks for the day ahead. Morning ritual is extremely important to many a successful person, whether it’s pounding the tennis court like Anna Wintour or taking time to meditate, like Legal Sea Foods CEO, Roger Berkowitz. “The first thing I do in the morning is retreat to my den and meditate,” he told Business Insider.

2. They aren’t afraid to fail

You can love what you do with a passion, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the road. If you give up as soon as the going gets tough, or falter at the first sign of failure, you’ll end up dreading going to work. People who love what they do understand that making mistakes is not only par for the course, but a healthy and necessary process. It’s how they get better at what they do and keep on reaching to be the best.

Says Krystil McDowall, Founder of Bump and Blok, “When you decide to leave a stable career and tread another course, it goes without saying that you’ll have a fear of failure (almost before you start) and especially if you’re moving in a direction which doesn’t correlate with your studies or prior career experience, like I did. But feeling fear means I’m about to grow. It means something is about to happen that is new to me and outside my comfort zone, and I’m ok with that. When I sense fear, I have a habit of asking myself what is the worst thing that can happen, that way I know the outcomes and I’m mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario.”

3. They celebrate the small stuff

Just as Rome wasn’t build in a day, most companies don’t experience overnight success. We can’t all be Uber and Pinterest. And even if you take a company that seemingly rose out of nowhere to world domination, you’ll probably find that years of hard work went on behind the scenes first. People who love what they do recognize that it’s a process and they celebrate the small victories.

Sean Hopwood, CEO of Day Translations, confirms, “Our goal is to be the best translations services company out there, but when I get frustrated that we’re not number one yet, I think about how far we’ve come. Not so long ago, I was the only employee, now we have a fixed global team of over 50-full time employees and a freelance network of around 7,000.”

4. They have a positive outlook

“I strive to lead with a strong vision, positive outlook and identifying and fostering talent,” says Dr. Fred Poordad, co-founder of the Texas Liver Institute. “Nothing gets a team of 120 medical professionals more motivated than knowing the long-term impact of their work, especially with underprivileged communities,” he added.

It might sound like a no-brainer, but if you can’t see a positive outcome for your company or career on the horizon, you’re not likely to have one. If you get too disheartened or overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks and problems, it can be hard to see the bigger picture and stay focused. So, maintaining a long term vision, through good times and challenging times is critical to meeting goals.

5. They believe in themselves

People who love what they do believe in their ability to do it well and don’t question why they’re doing it. You may quit your day job to start out on your own, thinking it will bring you happiness. But when the bills start mounting up and the critics grow louder, you start questioning your decision. If you’re continually second-guessing your instincts, that can lead to poor decision making, making you unhappy in your work. You’ll also fail to inspire talented people to work with you if you can’t sell your product to yourself.

“One of the defining qualities of being a successful entrepreneur is the willingness to stop and reevaluate a situation that’s not working. The truth is that I believed in myself when no one else did,” says Stephen Key, cofounder of inventRight and Entrepreneur contributor.

6. They revel in continued learning

Gandhi once said, “live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” Continued learning is a key habit of people who love what they do. They never tire of finding out more about it. If you believe that you know all there is to know about your industry or position, that can lead to job dissatisfaction.

When you’re open to new insights and ideas, taking on new hobbies, and continued learning, you’re more likely to love what you do. You’ll also be poised to guide your company through changes in technology or legislation, and feel more fulfilled as a person.

7. They make time for their personal life

We hear about the work/life balance so much that it’s somehow become almost mythical. Certainly, not enough people pay attention to its importance, which can lead to stress and burnout. Well rested workers are more creative and happy, and have the chance to enjoy a life outside of the office. So, stop shelving your social life make time for your personal life as well.

Liz Entin, Founder of Runway Passport, ensures she takes time to not only walk her dog every day, but to spend extra time outdoors for herself. She shares, “it’s important to take a break and step away, for your own personal well being, and also because it makes you more productive when you do get back to work.”

8. They remember where they came from

People who love what they do tend to have two feet rooted firmly on the ground. If you let your success get you your head, that can lead you to be surrounded by the wrong crowd. Successful, happy people have a good balance of self-belief and humility. No matter what heights they reach, they remember what they went through to get there. Gerard Adams, founder of Elite Daily, reminds us, “You have to be humble, you have to have heart. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. I think that’s really important.”

Perhaps most importantly of all, people who love what they do are the people doing what they love. So, if you’re battling it out every day on the subway or working long hours just for a paycheck, ask yourself if may be time for a change, and then set about making it happen.

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