Love what you do

During the past two years, I’ve interviewed many executives and business owners.

Some of their businesses are up and coming, while others are established icons. But they all have one thing in common — these entrepreneurs love what they do and are passionate about their companies and their work.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Successful people aren’t successful just because they have talent. They also have a passion. They wake up each day looking forward to the work at hand and the role they play in shaping the business.

Years ago, I was stuck in a job I hated. Because the financial rewards and benefits were so good, I felt I owed it to my family to continue that income and benefit support, even though I hated the work.

I dreaded the end of the weekend, knowing another week of torture was beginning. I even developed a reward system. Each month I stuck it out, I rewarded myself by buying some small item, a bottle of perfume, a shirt or jewelry.

Durable Slate’s Michael Chan — one of Smart Business‘s Who to Know subjects this month — reminded me of those days when I interviewed him recently. Chan left an extremely well-paying job as a stock broker to work as a laborer for Durable Slate. That gutsy move has paid off not just financially, but personally and professionally as well.

He’s a great example that money isn’t enough.

It is rare that someone who hates his or her job excels in it. I was laid off from that job I hated, and I’m sure that was prompted not only by the company’s need to save money but because I wasn’t one of its top performers.

So unless you wake up excited and eager to start the day, maybe you should rethink your career choice. No matter how much money you’re making, eventually you’ll pay the price for hating what you do.