By Schelli Whitehouse
Aristotle was only the first of many philosophers to state that no one could be both free and obliged to earn a living. And WorkPlaceFairness.org/Workplace-Bill-of-Rights number 8 states that “There is more to life than work.”
How do you feel about your work?
This is the dictionary’s number one standard definition for “Work” –noun exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
Wow, no wonder we associate so many negative feelings around work. By definition it implies labor and toil. That does not sound pleasant or satisfying at all.
I am not suggesting that we lay around in hammocks all day drinking pina coladas. That, too, would become unsatisfying after awhile (okay, maybe a long while!)
If you are like countless others around the world, you are most likely NOT happy about your work, if, in fact, you are working at all today.
Regardless of whether you are an employee, V.P., CEO of a billion dollar corporation, or you are a home-based entrepreneur, the amount of angst you carry with regards to your work can literally be debilitating. According to the American Institute of Stress (yes, there really is such a place), “Numerous surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades.”
What’s up with that?
So many people I talk to today fall into 3 main categories…
Is there more to life than work, and how do you get it? I believe there is and this is how…
You may be expecting me to launch into a list of daily things to implement to create balance between life and work.
Oh, no–far from it. This is much more radical than that. I would like to suggest that you consider the fact that your life and your work can be and should be one and the same. That concept may take a moment to sink in for many of you. The stronger you dislike your present work situation, the more you may want to disagree with that statement.
When we separate our lives from our work we make one of them bad and the other one good. We often feel guilty if we spend too much time at work and neglect our lives, and vice-versa.
If your belief is that you must labor and toil to live, then you are cutting yourself off from a deep and satisfying opportunity to express yourself as a creative, giving, and intelligent contributor to every facet of your life and the lives of everyone you associate with – everyone!
My belief is that our work is one of our greatest opportunities for expressing our raison d’être – our reason for being. Never before in the history of the world has there been a greater confluence of circumstances perfectly aligned to support and encourage the individual to monetize their own gifts and talents.
Now think about this word: “Vocation” –noun a particular occupation, business, or profession; a calling / a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
Can you imagine a work life that actually makes you happy?
Have you ever thought about getting more out of life by creating a lifestyle you love which gives you everything you want in your life – including creative freedom, self-respect, admiration from others, collaborative relationships, a good income and freedom to do what you want?
In the second of the Four Splendid Truths from Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” is:
“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
Gretchen Rubin goes on to say, “Everyone accepts the first part of the Second Splendid Truth, but the second part is just as important. By making the effort to make yourself happier, you better equip yourself to make other people happier, as well. It’s not selfish to try to be happier. In fact, the epigraph to the book The Happiness Project is a quotation from Robert Louis Stevenson: “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”
To quote another famous wise man, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it.” ~ Forrest Gump
If it would make you happy to get more out of life than work, I’d like you to consider getting more out of life from your work! Bite into something that’s big and important to you and see what you get! If you don’t like it, choose another chocolate.
Here is a short list of things to consider that will assist you in getting more out of life from your work as well as greatly improving your overall happiness:
Stop complaining about everything you don’t like about your present work situation
Stop associating with people who always complain about their present work situation
Volunteer with an organization or join a club that is already doing something you care about and meet healthy like-minded people. (Network your way out of an unhappy employment situation into something satisfying)
Start your own service or product business (even if it’s part time) doing something you care about
If you already have a product or service business of your own, perhaps it’s time to take it to a bigger audience and truly make a difference in the lives of many.
To play small and stay where you are serves no one, most of all not you.
Share your gifts and talents with the world. You have many to choose from, pick one, take a bite, and relish the taste of expressing the real you through the work you love every day!