Delightful Labor – Since Work Takes Up Most of Your Life Make it Count!
Your vocation and workshop should be your “happy place.” Think about where you are when you feel the most fulfilled. What are the touches, sights, sounds, and smells that stand out and give you the feeling that you are “home?” What Christmas and July 4th memories stand out in your mind when looking back at your business life? Think through the activities that give you the truest feelings of accomplishment.
Does your day-to-day work liberate you or is it your enslaver? Remember, you are working 40 to 80 hours a week, which means you spent more of your time at work more than at home. Your work requires far more of your energy and time than your hobbies. Your profession should free you to exercise your body and mind to their fullest. Does yours?
Where do you want to be tomorrow when the sun is rising or setting? How does your spouse, your children and friends identify you? When you walk down memory lane, what is on both sides of the lane? Remember, sanctuaries can be workshops filled with the smell of fuel, the movement of dust, the whirring of saws, and the thuds of hammers.
In your professional space, where are you most comfortable being who you really are? Some craftsmen are more themselves when they are working on a long-range project as well as several short-term projects. The career diversity suits their DNA. Seek the balance just right for your artisan-temperament.
Choreograph your personal dance to fit you rather than others because their constitution is not yours. Determine your vision for you rather than defaulting to someone else’s vision for you. You were created to be you, not your parents, siblings, or someone else.
Finances Can Bully You Into Misery
Most people give the almighty dollar such a strong position in their decision making that they spend their life in a work that does not lift them up. You want your life’s work to be an investment rather than an expense.
Certain craft workers are traditionalists who want to do their work the same way that type of work has always been done. They appreciate the ancient paths and stick to those paths. Others believe as the saying goes “the newer is the truer, only what is recent is decent, the latest word must be taken as the last word.”
As a skilled worker, outfit yourself with the mental and physical qualities to be the best you that you can be. Think for yourself. Identify your points of pain that keep you from being fulfilled in your work. Can you remove a point of pain by taking on a partner or by removing yourself from a partnership? Are there certain people who pay well but are just difficult people? When you go home at night, what memories of the day are pleasant, and what experiences gnaw away your contentment?
Comparing your work to the work of others will rob your joy. Stop believing that what you see on the other side of the fence – what others are doing is better than what’s on your side of the fence. Depending on your motive, comparisons are rarely beneficial because they either build up an unhealthy pride or they lead to discouragement.
Leave nothing on the table by doing what you are specially equipped to do regardless of the activities of others. Happiness comes from you doing the best you can, in the time allotted, with the resources available.
Often, perfection is the enemy of “well done.” When are you your best self? Broadness may come at the expense of excellence in one area. Revel in doing what you can, and perhaps what only you can do. After all, you are an individual, not shackled to a commune.
If you are a goal-setter, set “reachable goals” for the day, week, month, and year. If you do not reach the “reachable goal” in the time allotted, dust yourself off and re-set the goal so it is reachable – or recognize that you have already reached it and experience the delight that comes with even small accomplishments. The holy grail of monetizing yourself is working at the tasks and speed that your frame best accommodates.
All lives are messy. Admit your mess, clean it up as best you can, and move on – or make a U-turn. Your GPS is yours, so do not borrow someone else’s navigational compass. Make your own stamp on who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Act on that inner voice of yours that is either laughing with you or crying for you.
The Magna Charta of any well-lived life is hammering out the freedom to live your way rather than the way of others. The redwoods of genuine fulfillment in your work are to transform yourself and your work environment into a workshop that perfectly fits your hands, goals, personality, and spirit.
You recognize that you need a major change but be cautiously aggressive when making the appropriate work changes. While you are defining your resources and opportunities, eliminate competitors to living well, and ignore criticism of your single-minded pursuit of work-happiness. Free yourself of everything stealing your personality from your work.