February 13, 2020 7:00 am Published by

You don’t have to love it.

Rhoda Olsen has been a mentor to me for the past 10+ years. She’s an authentic leader, a straight shooter and a source of learning every time I interact with her. You can listen and learn from her in this podcast

We were discussing some big decisions and potential life changes I’m facing when she shared the six words above. I heard them, they rattled around in my brain, and they marinated.

The next day, we were discussing issues in a peer learning situation with a group of smart, savvy CEOs. One of them was discussing some challenges in her business and how times like these challenge the best of us – even the most passionate, committed and optimistic of us. This CEO was describing how she didn’t “love” her work or her role right now.

Many of the other CEOs talked about how lonely it is to be a CEO, that no one, short of others in the same position can truly relate to the unique challenges of working through obstacles when you’re the face of the company.

Rhoda shared with all of us some of the challenging times she’s faced building a $1.6 Billion company. During those times she didn’t “love it” either. She proceeded to explain work is what it says – work. Her closing statement? “You don’t have to love it.” The second time I heard her, it sunk in.

The myth of loving what you do can overshadow the reality of work challenging you which is why you get paid. Your job as a leader is to instill hope, vision and paint a picture for your team about what’s possible during those times. It isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean you’ll love it.

Collapsing emotion with business may be one of the ways we set ourselves up for pain as leaders. “You don’t have to love it.” is my new mantra.

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