Work. It’s become a four-letter word. It’s that necessary evil everyone endures so they have the money to do what they want. For many of us, it’s even more frustrating that the things have to do to have a life take up so much of our life. What if work was more than a means to an end? What if there was a way to come alive, feel fulfilled, find joy and even make a difference while you’re “on the clock”? That all begins with understanding the real possibilities in every job. And here’s a spoiler: it’s more than a paycheck.
“Work hard, then die.” Some of us remember hearing this “good” news early on. Work is that thing you must do so you have the resources to do a few things you want to do. Even if you find yourself in a career you always wanted, one you’ve worked so hard to climb up to, you might be haunted by disappointment. “Is this it?” Retirement can’t come fast enough. Before we give up on getting much out of our work, let’s pause and ask if our dream job can actually start with our day job.
There are gods walking among us. We call them “artists”. they are those chosen few whose magical power to create, sing, write, draw and design casts a spell on us. But what if that same spark was in all of us? Further, what if your ability to create is actually the part of you that makes you most human?
We know when to put the pedal down. When opportunity knocks, we want her to find us doing great work so she’ll give us the breakthrough. Excellence is valuable. Maybe even more than we realize. Maybe the real value to excellence—and the reason we should bring it to every kind of work we do—is also the key to keeping us motivated and fulfilled while we wait for the next knock.
Gain skills. Meet people. Apply yourself. Take calculated risks. These are all essential pieces of every success story. But there’s one, hidden force that’s more important than all of those efforts combined. It’s a certain “IT” quality that will precede you into every future opportunity, secure you in your current job and leave a great legacy when you’re gone. It’s worth finding and fight for every shift, every gig and day of your life.
In the final installment of our series, let’s be honest with ourselves: Will we ever get there? We work harder, we try to work smarter, but what will it amount to? Will it ever feel like enough? In what may be the most important principle of work, we discover that “arriving” isn’t on the other side of hard work, it’s something you can feel and know every day.