L is for Labours Of Love

Potters Wheel

What are your labours of love? What is your soul work? What are the things that, when you do them, make your heart sing?

Clarifying Your
Labours of Love

You may love designing, gardening, solving certain kinds of problems or whatever. How can you do more of these things in the future?

Mark Evans is somebody who does his soul work. He and I did some work together when he was Chief Vet for the RSPCA in the UK. He went on to present award winning television programmes such Inside Nature’s Giants.

Mark is an incredibly positive person. Once I contacted him when he was in hospital after being bitten by a crocodile, but he still retained his sense of humour. Here is some background from his website.

Mark is the kind of bloke you’d like next door. Well perhaps not right next door. That might be a bit too close for comfort.

A few houses down wind would be a safer bet given how he smells sometimes when he gets home from work – being covered in anatomical gloop and stinking to high Heaven are occupational hazards of fronting Channel 4’s BAFTA winning science series “Inside Nature’s Giants”.

Mark and Crocodile

No, you’d want him as a neighbour because he’s got a massive toolbox and he’s good with his hands. He’s also kind to animals, gives up his seat on the bus for ladies (sometimes) and helps old folk across the road (if they ask)!

Mark is the son of an engineer and inventor. A childhood spent driving tractors, milking cows, pulling cars to bits, generally getting under his dad’s feet and constantly asking “why” has served Mark well as a grown up.

Over the years he’s been a regular animal doctor and the RSPCA’s Chief Vet. With the help of a few spanner-mad-mates he’s built his own car, 4×4 and helicopter.

He’s now a vet, trusted scientist, well-known professional communicator, accomplished grease monkey and, still, a massive cow fan.


People love to immerse themselves in activities that make their soul sing. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe the activities – personal or professional – that are labours of love.



Pursuing Your
Labours of Love

How often do you pursue your labours of love? Take a look at the activities you will be doing in the week ahead. Which of these would you do, even if you did not get paid for doing them?

“I played an active part in the local theatre during my youth, but then I gave it up,” said one person.

“Family life took over for many years, but then I regained the urge to tread the boards. My partner encouraged me to sign-up for a play and the deadline focused my mind.

“The first night was 3 months away, but I needed to rehearse 3 nights a week. This called for developing a weekly discipline.

“It was difficult at first, just like when you return to jogging, but I soon got into the rhythm. Now I perform in three plays a year and find it extremely fulfilling.”

People return to their labours of love for different reasons. Some take action because they want more pleasure; some because they want less pain. They regain the habit of doing work that makes their heart sing.

People often develop new habits by physically doing something different. They may enrol as a part time student, start exercising, spend more time with their favourite customers or whatever. Making such physical changes often leads to other developments in their lives and work.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can do to pursue some of your labours of love.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things – both for yourself and other people.




Getting Paid For
Your Labours of Love

Anybody can do work they love, the art is getting somebody to pay you for doing it. How to make this happen?

One approach is to learn from great service givers who have made a living doing work they love. Such people do satisfying work by focusing on their strengths, sponsors and success.


They build on their strengths. They build on where they deliver As and manage the consequences of their Bs or Cs.


They find sponsors – employers or customers – who will hire them for what they do best. They clarify the challenges these potential sponsors face and how they can use their strengths to help them achieve success.


They perform superb work, deliver great service and find solutions to challenges. They help the sponsors to achieve success.


“This sound simple in theory,” somebody may say. “But how to translate this into action?”

People often find work through their network. Real networking is about giving to others and helping them to succeed. It is not about self-promotion. So it can be useful to ask the following questions.

What are my strengths? What are the kinds of work that I find most satisfying? How can I do satisfying work and help other people to succeed?

Who do I know – personally or professionally – who I might like to help? What are the challenges they face? How can I use my strengths to help them succeed?

How can I get alongside people in a way that fits my values? How can I share my knowledge in ways that helps them to achieve their goals? How can I do superb work that helps them to succeed?

Like actors, it is important to keep working. So sometimes this means going out, giving to people and helping them to reach their goals. Sometimes this means doing it without funding. But that is okay.

At a certain point, however, somebody will say: “How can we take this further?” At that point you can, if appropriate, agree on the funding.

Sounds crazy? Perhaps, but this is the approach that I have found has worked. You can discover more about the practical steps for making this happen in the article called Getting work by going out and helping people to succeed.


People can often give themselves energy by following their labours of love. They can sometimes translate this into getting funding for doing fulfilling work.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe how you can, if appropriate, take steps towards getting paid for pursuing your labours of love.



Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>