Enjoying what you do every day

I hope that you are fulfilled by the work you do every day, that it brings a lot of meaning to you in your life and that it is an opportunity for you to fulfil your purpose in life. It is my wish that when you get up each morning you really look forward to the day and what you are going to do. That you have a spring in your step as you are going about your business from the early morning when you rise and as you go through your day.

What inspired these opening thoughts? I will let you shortly. I have a friend, * William, who was highly qualified in his field of work as a mining engineer, highly respected at work and in the community with several years of experience, decades actually, had the degree, certificates and courses to back it up and was working for a great organisation on top of that. If you are wondering about the pay, well that was just fantastic. On paper it appeared that William had it all sorted out, the perfect job if you like and if it existed.

However, when I recently spoke to William, he had quit his job to start a new life in a completely different industry where he did not have any experience at all to start selling toys. Not only that but the business he was in, was presenting many challenges to him, even though he found it very fulfilling. Why would anyone go from being a mining engineer to selling toys? I guess because they want to.

But here is what intrigued me. After spending at least 20 to 30 years of his life in mining, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with mining. He had completely stopped following any developments in the field. It was like the field or industry did not exist to him at all. He had completely erased all thoughts of it from his mind and did not even keep in touch with his old mates who were still the field.

I do understand that all good things come to an end in life and that people need to move on sometimes but I still thought that such a shift as was the case with William, was so radical in life. It felt to me that he had never enjoyed his work in mining at all because now he wanted to be completely divorced from it in all respects. That seemed like a shame to me but it is what it is. He now wanted to sell toys, something he could have done all along but it seemed he lacked the courage and conviction to do so.

As I reflected on our conversation I tried to draw some lessons from it. I hope that we won’t spend so much time doing something we don’t like so that at the end of it, we want absolutely nothing to do with it. That we actually resent the very thing that gave us a living.

May we find the courage to move on once something no longer serves us in life. We spend so time at work in life. I would guess that we spent almost a third of our life at work, that is too much time to spend doing something we hate or don’t like at all. But of course sometimes we don’t have a choice in life, or don’t we. The bills need to be paid and we have to do what we have to do.

I was very grateful to William for sharing this experience with me. There was definitely much to think about and I wanted to see if there was anything I could apply to my own journey.

Life is not easy at times and we are all fighting our battles. Others would die to do anything at all for a living. For some they have gone beyond the basic needs in life and are now looking for greater satisfaction or even self actualisation. A quick look up on the internet and a copy and paste helped me to recap what the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is about. They are Physiological, Safety, Love, Esteem, and Self-actualization. According to Maslow we will progress from one need to the next one starting with the most basic needs like Food, Shelter, Security and progress to more sophisticated needs.

If there is one thing that comes to mind right now, that thing is that it really does make such a huge difference when we are fulfilled by something. I used to interchange being passionate about something with being fulfilled but I think these are two very different things in life. They can intersect or or connect but they are not the same.

You can really love doing something and then you can really have a deep sense of satisfaction and meaning after doing something. I am very passionate about playing chess but I do not necessarily have a deep sense of fulfillment after a game. However, when it comes to teaching, coaching and mentoring other people it is a different story. I sometimes feel at the end of the day that I have really made a difference in someone’s life and that means so much to me. I can’t wait to do it again and I am grateful for the opportunity to have done it. I find that it gives me strength to keep going back and making a difference where I can. If working with someone gets them closer to achieving their goals and dreams in life then I must surely be doing something right.

If the work that you do does not fulfil you, are you content do go through the rest of your life like that? If not what is your gameplan? If you do not change the moves you are making every day, you are going to keep getting the same results. To change the endgame, you need to change your moves. Same action, same results. Different action, different results. That is how it works I think.

I hope that you find the courage and strength in your life to bring about the desired changes. Even with courage and strength wisdom is still needed because we need to get the timing right. Many things tend to go wrong when we get our timing wrong.

(* Naturally the name, industry and other details have been changed to protect identity).

Leave a Reply