Like most dads, mine spouted his fair share of personal philosophies. And like most sons, I’ve noticed their prescience as the years pass. One of my favorites is what he told me while, as a young man, I was considering my career path. He said, “If you do what you love, it never feels like work. Otherwise it’s just a job, and you’re stuck running out the clock.”
Dad knew what he was talking about. Upon graduating from college (Sociology? Seriously?), he’d already acquired himself a wife and kids: with bills to pay and mouths to feed. So after hearing of a “Management Training Program” at Sears, he took the job immediately. A couple decades later, he was trapped in middle management with a nasty commute, nastier co-workers, and frequent beatings from superiors looking for better sales numbers; a perfectly typical and perfectly miserable career.
So Dad partnered with two of his colleagues and took the big plunge — starting their own company – to fulfill a lifelong dream. The next thirty years were packed with long hours, hard work, struggle, internal warfare, lawsuits, stress and drama … with Dad loving every minute of it.
That simple idea — blending one’s job around a passion, rather than just a paycheck, has proven itself time and again. When a career is built upon something we love, it just doesn’t feel like work. Time passes quickly, energy is limitless and rough edges get smoothed out. All jobs have challenges; but when yours is a labor of love, those bad days are mitigated by the good. Passion brings dedication, positive energy, optimism, drive and focus. Many of us in the powersports industry already understand that fact.
Now compare to other careers: Clearly the lemming at the DMV counter isn’t passionate about what they do, and it’s obvious from top to bottom. That mentality is based upon clock-watching – running out the days until they cash-in their pension and retire. Millions of people simply have a job, just working for the weekend and some fleeting vacation days. Meanwhile, their actual LIFE is dissolving while they’re out making plans. Time passes while they take out their misery on the customer at the counter.
And it’s not just the DMV. That clock-watching malaise is everywhere you turn. But when you find someone who loves what they do — takes PRIDE in what they do — it’s instantly noticeable.
Those who are passionate about their jobs are better at them. They try harder, are more focused and ultimately more successful. That success translates into more pride, more focus and more happy customers. This spiral of success is what entrepreneurs strive for — and many achieve.
But more importantly: Success can be measured by means other than a W-2. Can you make a good living in the powersports industry? Absolutely. But if money is all that motivates you, there are much better options. If you aren’t passionate about our sport, our industry or your job, you’ll never find true satisfaction here. But if you love what you do, the rest will follow.
Another idiom repeated by my father goes like this: “I started my own business, and haven’t worked a day since.” And at age 78, he still rises every morning to do what he loves, and it never feels like work.
To Mr. Richard J. Clovis, successful entrepreneur: Happy Father’s Day. I know it wasn’t obvious, but I really was paying attention.
Chris Clovis has had the honor and pleasure of 25 years in the Powersports Industry, currently serving as Vice-President of Eaglerider Motorcycles [www.eaglerider.com]. The job he takes the most pride in however is being a dad to his two sons, Gunnar and Christian. Chris’ opinions are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer, publisher, or clients.