What do you love?

A question I’ve been asking audiences at this year’s “Beyond Resilience” events—to help them uncover a vision for a better future—is: “What do you love?”

In times of disruption, crisis, and overwhelm, it’s easy to lose sight of what you love. What do I love? Who has time for that?! I’m just trying to get through the day.

I get it. That’s survival mode. And while it’s necessary in short spurts, it’s not a healthy place to live. From the Mayo Clinic:

The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

While I’ve spent a decade now studying and talking about tools and strategies to manage stress, I also learned something along the way:

Reducing stress isn’t the same as creating joy.

And don’t we all want to experience more joy in our lives?

If you do, you have to consider: What do you love?

While asking that question may seem like a luxury that we just don’t have time for at the moment, it’s critical that you reconnect with what you love if you want to truly thrive.

Love + Work Marcus Buckingham
Love + Work by Marcus Buckingham

And, here’s some good news:

As Marcus Buckingham writes in his new book, Love+Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life, that doesn’t mean we have to do what we love all the time:According to ADP Research Institute’s study of 25,000 workers, “if you have a chance to do something you love each and every day, you are 3.6 times more likely to be highly resilient.” (emphasis mine)

So, now let me ask you:

What do you love?

Maybe it’s been so long since you thought about it that you don’t even know anymore. Thankfully, Marcus offers us some guidance to rediscover what we love in his book. Specifically, here are three clues to help you find it:

  1. Where do your instincts take you? In other words, what is something that you will volunteer for or say “I’m in!” for without even thinking about it? What is a cause or an activity that you’re immediately drawn to?
  2. What are you doing when time disappears? Think about a time when you got so lost in an activity that you lost all track of time. You were in your own world. And it felt good. What were you doing?
  3. What comes easily to you? When you pick up a skill faster than the average bear, you’re experiencing something known as rapid learning. That is another clue that you’re onto something you love. It’s something that’s just wired into your being. What is that for you?

I’m sure you’ve got a sticky note or a reminder list somewhere that tells you what you have to do today or this week. How about you start a new list with things you love to do? (By the way, is it possible that there are some things you love about what you have to do… that you just forget to enjoy in the midst of it all?)

Then once you remember what you love to do, make time to do it. What is one thing you love that you can commit to doing this week? How about today?

Here’s to letting love lead the way!

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