14 Jul Work as Art, Why Passion Matters when choosing a landscape lighting Designer Builder
by Mike Gambino
According to Mike Gambino, landscape lighting isn’t just a way to earn money — it’s a way of life.
“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but he who does it for the love of it.” – Henry David Thoreau
We’ve all heard the old saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.
It makes sense, sure, it sounds almost like a cliché. Business mentors preach the idea all the time, and motivational speakers tout the benefits of having a passion-driven business.
Yet a lot of people struggle with this idea. Some are conditioned to view work as necessary, something to push through so we can enjoy the good stuff after hours, not something to truly enjoy in and of itself.
I believe this is because we’re not conditioned to think we can be happy in the work we do. Instead we think, “I have to do this so I can have these things.” “I have a mortgage payment so I have to make money.” “I have a family to raise, car payments, medical bills, or…”
We all have this story in our heads that tells us we have to “work” in order to get to the good stuff. And as a result of this story, we do the thing that we think will help us get that money.
Ask yourself honestly , why are you in the job or …….business at all? Probably a large part, if not the main part, of your answer is because you expect to make money at it. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t have some expectation of financial reward.
Now I know that money is very important. In our society, it’s what makes the world go around. However, I’ve come to realize that money is just a magnifier. If you’re a happy person without money, having more money just magnifies that happiness. And if you’re miserable without money, having more is just going to magnify your misery.
We only have to look at the tragic stories of huge lottery winners to see this in action. Seemingly unlimited wealth — something that many of us dream about — seems only to cause more problems, heartaches and drama for so many of those (un) “lucky” winners.
If money is only a magnifier, then why not choose happiness no matter where you are financially? Why not choose to do what you love? And if you can’t do that, try loving what you do and find your passion in that.
Now granted, not everyone is passionate about everything they do in life. But you can be! It comes down to making a choice. I can choose to be happy in this particular situation, and I can choose not to be. I can choose to be excited and move forward, or choose to remain stuck right where I am.
Make no mistake about it, happiness is a choice. In fact, a recent survey discovered that one of the most common regrets people have when they get to the end of their lives is not allowing themselves to be happier. Seems we realize that this is our choice only when it’s far too late to do anything about it.
So how does all this relate to your profession?
For me, happiness and passion go hand in hand. If you’re passionate about something, you’re engaged in it, your immersed and enjoying it. When you are enjoying it, you’re happy! Many people find their passion in fishing, painting, writing, woodworking or other hobbies, not me. And some find their passion in the thing they do to make money, that’s me.
That’s what I’ve done with landscape lighting. I’ve consciously made the decision that I was going to love what I do, and I’m only going to take on the work that I love. If it doesn’t excite me, if I think it’s going to be a grind, I turn down the project. And I’ve turned down several this year alone.
I learned from experience that if you keep taking miserable jobs that you don’t want to do, it’s a huge challenge to figure out how to find your passion there. I suppose you can convince yourself that you’ll learn to like it, or at least like the results (i.e. the money), because it puts food on the table. But for me, that was a recipe for misery.
Instead, you have to find those things that you do love about this business, that type of work that really does turn you on, the type of client you like working and work the best with. And when you do that, lo and behold, your energy peaks because you like what you’re doing. The right customers step up, because they feel your passion and your enthusiasm. The entire process builds and repeats itself, drawing more of the “right” kind of projects your way.
For me, that’s how my work has become my art. I’ve learned to love the process and all the aspects of the project; there’s no part of the work that I don’t love. Even digging a trench in 100 degree plus weather in July (like it was the week I wrote this) has a certain appeal when I can envision how I’ll turn this dark hole after dark into a gorgeous backyard escape where the owners will want to spend time with friends and family outdoors for my happy clients long after the sun goes down.
In doing this, the process and the work becomes part of me. When I work on something, that outcome is my legacy, it’s a part of my personal legend, and I love it. I build a system intended to be around long after I’ve left the planet.
I happen to like it best on the system construction side, but this idea applies equality to sales, the service side, renovation work and to supplying the materials others need. Find the thing that you love about your current work, focus on that and you’ll get plenty of work. Yes, at first you might have to take some jobs that aren’t perfect. We all have to do this, especially when you are building your business. Nonetheless, keep focused on that stuff you love, and move closer to that goal with each job.
If you do this, if you can figure out what it is that you love to do and stay focused on the work you love, you’ll get more of that work to create your art than you know what to do with.
That’s been the secret behind our growth at Gambino Landscape Lighting — we just decided to do what we love. That allows us to stay happy every day, and be passionate about the work. I can’t wait to get to the job site to dig into the earth and proceed to the next step of the project. I’m always excited for what’s next because it’s so fun to design something new (every project is unique), something we’ve never tried before (each project has its own set of challenges).
That’s me, every single day, doing work I love and turning it into my art. That’s me, because I take on the work that I love. Work becomes enjoyable when we are truly passionate and engaged in what we do.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 27 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.Gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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