Do Good Work for Its Own Sake
July 19, 2017

Do Good Work for Its Own Sake

by Brian de Haaff

I am not a gambler. But I know many people like to partake in games of fortune, and some even have a get-rich-quick dream. Hitting those lucky numbers and raking in enough cash to live a life of leisure. Let’s imagine this actually happens — maybe you win the lottery. I hate to bring you down, but I want to tell you the truth as I see it.

It might seem fun to quit your job and laze around for a few months. And that would be healthy for lots of people who have been toiling for as long as they can remember. But I can promise that you would eventually get bored — really bored. Why?

Because work is not just about earning a paycheck. It is about your intrinsic need to achieve something meaningful.

See, I believe that most people want to do good work for its own sake. But work has a different meaning for everyone. It might involve leading a team, going back to school, or acting as a caretaker for a loved one. If you are one of our customers at Aha!, the “good work” is probably building a great product — one that solves people’s problems.

I also recognize that many people work at tasks that do not fully utilize their skills or ambitions. And worse, many people around the world are not compensated in a way that allows them to build the life they would like and grow in a fulfilling manner. But if you are reading this post, you most likely have the ability to pursue work that is fulfilling and rewarding.

Whatever work means to you, it should not feel risky or unsafe. It is not a gamble for a reward, but the reward itself.

Working on something that really matters to you will not just enhance your career — it may lead to a longer life. Research shows that having a purpose in life is an indicator of healthy aging, including its potential for reducing mortality risk.

A happy career and a long life — sounds great, right? But I think you can get more specific and identify what else “good work” should bring for you:

  • Rewards — You are compensated in a way that allows you to keep doing the work you desire.

  • Honor — You are able to stay true to yourself and what matters to you.

  • Confidence — You feel proud of what you do and get better at it over time.

  • Relationships — Your work helps others and deepens your connections.

  • Joy — You enjoy the effort and are able to sustain happiness over time.

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Yes, money is important. But it is where the rewards of work begin — not where they end.

So let me share a little more of my worldview — doing good work for its own sake is hard. It means committing and not cutting corners, even if you hit those lucky numbers.

Hard work does not always equal good work. So check in: Does your work bring you rewards, honor, confidence, community, and joy?

When it does, you can find sustainable happiness — pursuing what you love in a way that renews and revives you.

What is your vision for “good work”?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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