Messages from the Masters
The Joy of Work by Dr. Philip E. Humbert

As a coach, I write and talk a great deal about making work "effortless".  With my clients, I focus on eliminating the daily frustrations and friction that can make work difficult, unpleasant and unproductive.  To achieve peak performance, you must eliminate the things that hold you back!

But that is often misunderstood to say that work shouldn't!  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Work is what makes us human, it allows us to show our true colors, and to make a difference in the world.  Work is  one of our greatest gifts!

Now, you may have noticed that I define "work" in a rather special way. 

Anything I don't want to do is annoying.  If it gets bad enough, I might call it "drudgery" or even "painful".  But that's not because it's my job and someone is paying me to do it.  It's because I would rather be someplace else, doing something different.

Humans rarely "work" harder than when we "play."  Watch a high school sports team working out - you couldn't pay the average teenager enough to work that hard!  Or, here's a personal example:  skiing.

I don't like it.  Downhill skiing requires expensive, uncomfortable clothes in order to pay a lot of money to stand in the cold waiting for a ski-lift, so I can have an uncomfortable ride up a mountain, so I can have a terrifying fall to the bottom.  This is not fun!  And, if I "had" to do enough of it, I would become a very frustrated, unhappy and unfulfilled person.  (My apologies to all of you who love skiing - it's just not my thing.  Sorry.)

In that sense, I think of skiing as "uncomfortable", but it is not "work"!  Do you get the distinction?

Work is about using my talents and skills in a disciplined, effective way to get results that bring me joy, satisfaction, and financial rewards.  For me, hard work is about writing or coaching, it's about connecting with an audience and giving a speech they will never forget.  Work is about producing a desired result with style and class.  It's about contributing value, and making a difference in the world.

And, in that sense, I believe work is an amazing opportunity!

It is true that becoming very good at your work and achieving superior financial rewards requires substantial effort.  I believe I work between 35 and 50 hours a week.  My wife will tell you I work far more than that, and I admit that for many years, I routinely worked over 60 hours a week.  But, and this is important, it was never difficult!

Much of my "work" happens while I'm walking my dogs.  I get to "work" on the golf course at times, and I certainly love the work I do in front of audiences or on the phone with my clients.  For me, writing these articles is both work, and a source of relaxation and renewal.

The key is to find work that you love as much as your play.  

To spend my life skiing would be exciting, but unfulfilling and I would quickly come to hate my job.  I would be tired and cranky at the end of the day.  I would "burn out", find reasons to gossip about my boss and co-workers, complain about how badly the company treated me, and I would eventually either quit or get fired.  Or, I would be "trapped" by my stock options and the retirement plan.

That is no way to live!  Don't do that to yourself, and don't permit those you love to spend their lives in the "salt mines" of a job that doesn't suit them!  Life's too short!

The key to unusual success is to find work that you would pay to do, and then get extremely good at it.

Work is the key to a life well lived.  It is the key to knowing you "did it right," that you made a difference, and gave all you had to give.  Playing on a beach won't do that. Only work can make life worth living, and then only if you do your own work.  If you try to do someone else's work, you won't be good at it, you won't love it, and you won't be particularly successful at it.  Find the work you do best, the work that only you can do, and then work hard, hard, hard.  There is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow!

Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, author, speaker and personal success coach. Visit his website at

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International