You are a success. You have figured out what to do in order to move up the organizational ladder, stay employed or start your own business, during a crazy unsettling few years. You may have figured out how to make you inner geek your best asset, delving into your strengths and deploying them with great skill. You work miracles everyday as you figure how to do more work with fewer people and fewer resources. You should be proud of your triumphs. After all you worked hard and made some sacrifices along the way.
You put up with commutes that absorb time you could be spending on something you enjoy (unless of course you enjoy long drives with lots of traffic) like finally taking painting classes or rekindling romance with your beloved. Plus you might also be juggling your work with taking care of the family or your parents- not to mention your volunteer work. Could be that you spend your entire weekend on household stuff done because there is no time during the week (or when there is, you are too tired). Your days feel crowed and sometimes down right chaotic and, oddly enough, like something is missing. If you could just get to the bottom of your to-do list you might have the time to think about what that mysterious thing is.
My hunch is it may not be more money, or a bigger office. But that you wish to feel in the fiber of your being that what you do matters. That the impact of your work does not stop with a dollar amount or another plaque on the wall. That it is meaningful and contributes to the greater good-whether you work for pay or not. Moreover that part of that greater good is you and your needs.
Meaningful work is not in a job title- no matter what that title is- or how highly a position is regarded by others. Meaningful work is personally defined and experienced. It is the ways in which what you do enriches the world. Jobs that provide enough money to support your family and afford you the wealth of spending time puttering in your garden or unscheduled play time with your kids are deeply meaningful. As is being a neurosurgeon who may have less time outside of the bounds of work, but is able to fulfill a personal mission to enable the health of others. The same can be for how you move through day, the way you interact with people and how you spend your time outside of work can be routes to meaningful work.
It is easy to put off doing the things that provide the foundation for how you can best contribute to the world, because you think or secretly believe/hope that a miraculous day in the future will arrive when you stop and take the time to do those things (or figure out what they might be in the first place). Magical thinking. There is always going to be something clamoring for your time, attention and skills,- like your smart phone that just announced an incoming email, or rang the alarm for a project reminder.
The escape of daydreams and wishful thinking is delightful and I even venture to say necessary. Dreams, hopes, wishes that can give you something to hold on to on days when you just think you can’t take anymore. They are a spark- a starting point. Not and end in and of themselves. You don’t write a wonderful book like Love in the Time of Cholera (Thank you Gabriel Garcia Marquez for introducing me to Magical Realism), with just a hope. But you have to start then and decide where to spend your time, mind and heart.
Are you are done waiting for some enchanted day in the future, are no longer willing to live to work and ready to start feeling on a more visceral level that what you do matters in a deeply personal way? That requires digging in and being absolutely clear about your BIG WHY, a clear unwavering vision of what you crave most ardently and is deeply rooted in the real materials of your life. It becomes a promise to live into. The promise becomes a reality when you skillfully use the gifts and strengths of your inner geek in service of your Big WHY.
Previously I said that I have been working on a new program I believe will help you resolve lingering questions or worries that hold you back from focusing on your Big WHY and bear hug your inner geek, so you can make a life and a living that matters in a deeply personal way. Things like:
- Just what would making a life and a living actually feel ,look and be shaped life?
- Could I be courageous enough to fall in love with my inner geek?
- Can I really make space for the real materials of my life, in my life?
Later this week I’ll be offering you the chance to get on the phone with me and start answering these questions in clear concrete terms.