Friday, April 11, 2008

What does "work" mean to you?

Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.
~Harvey Mackay

The title of today's post on one of the blogs I read totally caught my attention this morning: Killer Career Advice Goes manga, meet Johnny Bunko. Intrigued, I clicked through and discovered what promises to be an awesome way to transform the concept of career planning in the form of a manga career guide. The best part? The video trailer promoting the book:

Johnny Bunko trailer from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

Obviously, only having heard about The Adventures of Johnny Bunko this morning, I haven't read it yet, but it really got me thinking about how the consciousness shift across the planet is changing everything, literally everything. It is possible that mine will be the last generation burdened with the idea that work is drudgery, just something to get through so you can enjoy the rest of your life. While many people of all generations have broken free of that belief, the generation that is graduating from college in this decade is benefiting from the awakening that has been happening. They tend to have higher expectations about work as something that had better be fulfilling since you spend more time doing that than just about anything else you do in your life.

For me, work was always a struggle based in conflicting beliefs. On one side, I knew that if you do what you love, the money will follow. On the other side, I believed that work was, well, work, something that was difficult and complex and the harder you worked at it, the more you would be rewarded. The problems for me in breaking free, or so I told myself, were that I didn't know what it was that I loved and that I was just too practical not to have a "real job" while I was figuring that out. What has become clear over the years is really that fear was keeping me small--the longer I stayed at jobs that I didn't love, the longer I could stay "safe" by blaming the job for my unhappiness. If I took a risk and became a writer or healer or spiritual mentor, then there was a chance that I would fail, that I would discover I was mediocre, that I didn't have any true gifts to share with the world.

Since I left my job in September, I've really focused on turning my concept of the word "work" around. "Work" and "play" are no longer opposites for me. I've come to think of it more as you would "a work of art." It's a matter of where you place your attention, what you're putting your energy into, the product of your natural creativity. While I do not have "a job," I invest a lot of time and energy in my work right now--my work is to live my life as fully as I know how to today. Some days that includes activities that earn me money and some days that doesn't--I still have some unlearning and relearning to do, but there is daily progress on that front. At the end of the day, I judge whether my time was well-spent by how much joy I've experienced, whether or not there's a smile on my face, how authentically I showed up in the world today. The more that happens, the more the work I'm doing is seen as valuable to someone else and I am compensated.

How do you define "work"? Do you feel that your current work is your life's work? What steps can you take today to shift that concept for yourself? Join me this week in being part of the consciousness shift taking place around "work." Doesn't it make life more fun? Namaste.

Photo: "cubicle," originally uploaded by Kat

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Fran said...

Kahil Gibran says, "When you work, you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music."

Jenn Sheridan said...

That's an absolutely beautiful quote. Thank you for sharing!