I bought this lovely little thing from a local shop a long time ago. It’s been hanging on one of my cabinet doors for awhile. I see it every single day. But, I don’t read it every single day.
Today, I turned my head and really took notice of this lovely little reminder. And lately, I have been thinking about this a lot – this sense of doing something that matters to me. That helps me create a wonderful life.
Last week, I was talking to a colleague about how being an entrepreneur has challenges that those who are in a 9-5 position working for someone else don’t always think about. Like if a client is really slow to pay, you have to take out of savings to pay the mortgage until that check finally arrives. You have to work nights or weekends to get things done or because that’s what works best for your client. You’re always looking ahead, adding services or getting excited and ready for a little more networking time. It’s all on you – you don’t answer to anyone but yourself. You decide when – IF – you take time off. And while that sounds divine to some, it can get old some days.
This week, I was at a hospital for several hours and found myself watching nurses, doctors and admin staff while I was going from place to place. They all had a specific purpose and their days are pretty routine, I’m sure. “In the mornings, we _______.” “I have to make sure I _____.” “Only two more days till the weekend!” I found myself seduced by their job predictability. Eight hour days, holidays and personal leave time, this is how we do this, this is how we do that.
But do they really love entering data into computers, walking patients from the clinic the pharmacy, or pushing carts into elevators to deliver something to another department? Are they fulfilled? Do they think their job is wonderful? I don’t know.
Just as I was having these thoughts, I found myself at the pharmacy and saw a woman I worked with a long time ago. We counted money all day in a cage. I was in college, just looking for some extra money and she was in transition from closing her own restaurant to finding steady employment with benefits for her sick husband. Weirdly, I am now the entrepreneur and she’s delivering medications to sick people. Routine. Predictable. Steady.
What I do know is that when I have these thoughts, I am only temporarily seduced. Yes, it might be easier some days to sell books at a bookstore or to take car tag payments at the tax collector’s office. Routine. Predictable. Steady. Maybe even easy! Or it appears to be any way. But would it be meaningful? Or would it feel to me like nothing at all? I remember that feeling well. The feeling that I couldn’t do something new or exciting. The feeling I wasn’t being creative. The feeling I wasn’t doing work that I really loved.
A lot of people find a great deal of joy and excitement in their work, no matter how routine and predictable it might be. Or maybe they just don’t want to take that leap and be on their own. And there are days I think the leap to being in full-time business for myself is wild and crazy and hard and I want to give up. But I don’t. Because I LOVE to coach people. I LOVE to write. I LOVE engaging people in training sessions. I LOVE working at home with my furry team. I LOVE to create and find resources for clients.
I don’t have a feeling of dread on Sunday nights as I think ahead about going to work on Monday morning. I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready and begin the commute.
I keep moving forward, one client at a time. Yes, it’s slower than I’d like. Yes, I’m ready for more clients – absolutely ready!
My heart and my hands and my mind share an occupation. I am a coach. I am a writer. I engage people in the discovery of ways to do work that they too can love. My goal really is to help their hearts, their hands and their minds find an occupation that creates a rich and wonderful life. I help them discover and give them permission to do work that brings them the greatest satisfaction. Whether that work is routine and predictable or wild and crazy with no limits.
I’m glad I keep remembering this.