Finding the Work you Love!

by Coffman-Thiede, Keri Thursday, March 16, 2006
Contact Us
Milwaukee, WI
phone: 414-278-0700
800-984-3775
Send email
About Us
“The water pitcher cries out for water to carry, and the person cries out for work that is real.” ~ Marge Piercy

Depending on the research you read, 40-60% of Americans are dissatisfied with their job. Perhaps this isn’t surprising when we look at how most of us chose our careers. First, we go to school, gain skills and get exposed to a variety of classes that leave us with a general sense of, “I like biology better than history,” or vice versa. From there we get familiar with the types of jobs in a certain field of interest and hedge our bets on which career will be the best fit for us.

So, we join the workforce and after we’ve had our first job or two, “I like biology better than history” turns into a slightly more honed sense of “I like working with nature and wildlife more than doing lab work and research.” But there is still this pervasive feeling that you’re not really sure what you want to do when you grow up.

Culturally, career seems to be defined something like “a way to make money so that I can afford the quality of life I really want.” This perspective of career is focused on getting money so that you can have and do things when you’re not working. The actual work of the career is overlooked or at best considered a tolerable necessity. Yet for most of us, the hours spent working far out number the hours we have to enjoy our hard earned “quality of life.” Let’s face it, we want to do more than tolerate our work. We want to enjoy it!

So how do you find work you love?

Put down the classifieds and get clear on what you’re looking for!

To find work you love, you need to start by looking at career from a different perspective…a perspective that recognizes that your satisfaction with the day to day activities of your work is vital for you to experience the quality of life you truly desire. Work you love comes from engaging in daily activities (work) that are meaningful actions you have a natural propensity for and that make the difference you truly want to make.

From this perspective, you’re looking for work that honors your natural way of being and puts it in service of others. Notice your natural tendencies in how you respond to others and create an impact on situations. Observe the features that consistently stand out in how you approach others and problem-solve. Here are a few questions to consider as you look at your natural way of being. To get the most out of this, spend at least 10 minutes writing your answer to each question.

  1. What do people tend to consistently say about you? What do people praise about you?

  2. Describe three achievements that you are most proud of thus far in your lifetime. What’s similar about the way you accomplished these achievements?

  3. What are you doing when you lose track of time? What are you doing when you feel most alive and fully engaged?

  4. Identify the various jobs you’ve had that were not a good fit. What value was stepped on or overlooked in each job? What beliefs were dishonored?

  5. Describe a time you were at your peak performance. Who were you being, what were you doing when you’ve been most satisfied with yourself? What values were you honoring?
“You have a unique message to deliver, a unique song to sing,
a unique act of love to bestow. This message, this song and this act of love have been entrusted exclusively to the one and only you.” ~ John Powell, S.J.


Having knowledge and understanding of your natural way of being can help identify two main aspects: what you like to do and how you like to do it. For example, if you realize you consistently bring humor and camaraderie to group interactions and easily rally people around your ideas, you may find leading a team will be a natural aspect of work you’d love.

There is a third aspect of career that is perhaps the most important. Anyone can take their natural way of being and do a variety of jobs with it. But doing work you love isn’t only about doing what you CAN do, it’s about getting to do what you most WANT to do. What makes work fulfilling is when you put your natural qualities in service of what matters most to you. This requires discovering the difference you want to make - the impact you want to have.

When you think of doing work you love- THINK BIG! Think amazing possibilities! Think joy and fulfillment! Choosing a career becomes a reflection of your conscious choice to make a particular difference. Your career gives you the opportunity to get paid for the time and actions you take in effort to make your desired impact on others and the world. What makes you say, “People have got to know about this!” Own it, claim it, work it!

Here are a few questions to consider when thinking about the difference you want to make. Again, to get the most out of this, spend at least 10 minutes writing your answer to each question.

  1. What is it you want to teach people? What do you find yourself frequently talking passionately about?

  2. Where do you see potential for humanity to grow, change and improve? What aspect of human potential inspires you most?

  3. What angers or saddens you about people, the world, humanity? What do you find yourself getting mad or sad about in the daily news?

  4. What’s the legacy you want to leave? What do you want most for the people who come after you?

  5. Picture for a moment that a large crowd is gathered to hear you speak. There is excitement in the air as they wait with anticipation. As you approach the podium, the people become quiet. What is the message you are there to share?
As your conviction becomes apparent, your vague sense of, “I like working with nature and wildlife.” is replaced by a compelling drive to fulfill the specific purpose. You realize you are passionate about helping people take responsibility for their impact on the world’s natural resources. By combining this with your natural inclination to lead teams, you may find the work you love is being an environmental lobbyist.

Doing work you love supports you to be who you want to be, do what matters most to you and have more than you dreamed of. When you do work you love, you’re doing your BEST work! Work that…

Brings you joy and abundance
Embraces your natural way of being
Serves to make the difference you most want to make
Ties your actions to what matters most to you

“The highest reward for a person’s work is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.” ~ John Ruskin

As you know, your career life profoundly impacts your relationships, your finances, your health, your hopes and your dreams…your whole life! What is possible if you commit to doing work you love? How will your life change if you do? How will it change if you don’t?

If you’re serious about finding work you love, contact me!