Wisdom I got from a mentor when I was struggling with a career direction was, “do what you love and the money will follow.” The idea is that if I choose a path that I am passionate about and is a strength of mine, then I will be led to my vocation. When someone is following their calling, it shows up on their face when they are asked, “so what do you do?” One time in particular, a woman said, “I’m a kindergarten teacher!!” and her face lit up. I love being in the presence of someone who is doing what they were born to do. When I listen to a singer at church who is fully in the moment and giving her gift to everyone in the room, I get chills. To see someone in their zone, doing what they love, and sharing their talents has been inspiring.
This week’s theme of One Year of Blogging series is explores ideas around work. I selected three blogs from different series over the year.
1. Appreciation at Work: Tangible Gifts (Language #4): A professional lesson I learned is the importance of appreciation. People invest their time, effort, and talents into a common goal of supporting the organization. While trying to do our jobs, we also a part of a human community at work. Appreciation expresses the value someone is offering us. Gift-giving at work comes with some guidelines. The highlights: (1) Give gifts to people who really appreciate them. (2) Give a gift that the person values. (3) The gift needs to communicate time and energy was spent on the selection process (i.e. not generic). My husband’s supervisor gave him the gift of access to a fun resource. The gift would enhance our weekend experience together.
2. Drawing the Line: Boundaries at Work (#3): The emails and inbox of responsibilities can feel like a bottomless pit. I love personal productivity and consume techniques that will allow me to maximize my effectiveness. One common myth is that time is “managed.” The real issue is about “priority” management. Sometimes we do the easy stuff first because it is simple or convenient. We must choose. We must say “no” or “not right now” to the things that request our time that are not our priority. For example, there are paperwork needs that are required in my position. These needs are not high on my priority list for “MY” role. When I’m reminded that “your boss’s essential goals must get done” I get the administrative tasks done early. If my boss needs my cooperation to meet the responsibility he is assigned, then that is my priority too. What I don’t want is my boss to have to come hunt me down to get my compliance on paperwork. That is a radar I don’t want to be on.
3. His & Hers: Her #4 Need is Financial Support: I included this post because financial support is directly connected to our work. I reread the quote, “Many men work themselves to an early grave providing what their families can do without.” I love simple living. I am reminded that we can become workaholics to keep the job that earns the money for a lifestyle we can’t easily afford. The stress of satisfying the insatiable appetite of “wants” can be exhausting. The lesson I am reminded of is that “needs” are required to be met to survive. “Wants” are optional if there are additional resources (time, money, etc).
When I returned from the Peace Corps, I had an opportunity of starting from a clean slate. I could do anything. I just had to choose a path from endless options. This idea was overwhelming. I was reminded of my mentor’s wisdom to “do what you love and the money will follow.” I looked at what I was naturally drawn to and paid attention to where I wanted to invest my talents. The three things that were on my list of experience were: Teach college, volunteer for high-maintenance jobs, and give advice.
My continuous pursuit of self-discovery led me to write my personal mission statement that was based on passion and purpose. I help people develop their communication skills so they can have happy, healthy relationships. This realization allowed me to identify that I love empowerment (core value). One of the places I invest my strength is in the college classroom. I push hard against students’ fear to grow because I see their higher potential that is behind the resistance. They struggle in the process…and then there is a point where they have a break-through. They start to see what I knew was there all along. In those moments I get chills. I know I’m not “working,” I’m living my vocation, my higher calling. When I get asked the question, “so what do you do?” my face lights up as a launch into an answer that tells that person they are in the presence of someone who is doing what she was born to do.