What Are You In It For?

I was listening to an interview with Grubhub.com co-founder, Matt Maloney yesterday. You may have seen commercials for his new food delivery service. It’s a great idea and investors seem to think so as well.

In the interview, Maloney and co-founder, Mike Evans talk frankly about not being in it for the big payoff. In fact, they think it’s the wrong mindset to have. While he’s quick to say he will certainly welcome it if it comes, it isn’t the focus of what they do every day, they want to enjoy building and growing the company right now.

Enjoy It Now or Later?

Their approach resonated with my right away.

When Chris first asked me to work with him, I said no. I was happy where I was, so leaving that wasn’t of interest to me. it wasn’t until I figured out how I could find purpose in the work, contribute, and enjoy it that I finally said, yes.

Earlier in my career I left a well paid position because the work became miserable. I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. My wife and I had two children at the time. It would have been easy to justify grinding it out. There were opportunities for advancement, but I couldn’t. Instead, I left and started my own company.

There is however a school of thought that says you must grind it out at something you may not necessarily enjoy, suffering through the early days to get a big payoff later. I’m not buying it.

Later doesn’t provide a ton of incentive for me if I am unhappy right now.

Loving the Grind

The mistake would be to assume that enjoying the now means you won’t work as hard. Maybe you’re of the mind that you need to “pay your dues” and this involves some amount of misery.

The mistake would be believing people simply don’t know how to delay gratification any more and that they’re eager to harvest fruit before it’s ripe. Again, I’m not buying it.

Here’s a little secret. I work hard at what I do because I enjoy it. I’m not slogging through just to achieve a goal. Enjoying the process is what helps me envision my goals and in the end, accomplish them.

To me it’s about purpose. It’s about Ownership. Grinding it out every day doesn’t have to mean misery and suffering doesn’t translate to success.

It’s entirely possible to Love the Grind, to love the work you are doing, the people you work with, and the community of folks you have the pleasure to serve. In fact, it makes me work even harder.

Long days and late nights aren’t always pure joy, but I enjoy what I do each day. What about you, why are you doing it? Is it just for the payoff or are you enjoying right now?

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