I forget how many jobs or gigs I did in my life that were nothing more than hiring oneself out to make some money so that you could pursue your dreams or passions in life. I was fortunate in that one day a powerful executive saw something in me that was “different,” and his vision allowed me to work around the planet doing live shows, all to get to product development and licensing. What we found was I was better at taking problems and coming up with solutions to those problems outside the confines of traditional corporate culture and the limits that happen inside larger organizations.
I still remember the day I was told to “go pack up your desk and think of any idea that can make our companies money.”
I think I might have pinched myself as I sat at that table and thought I had died and gone to heaven.
There are a few definitions of work. The one I prefer if you are exerting energy into something to achieve a desired result in the future. This is called working with a purpose or passion. The more common that seems to be the norm on the planet is working to do some skill and make money. In a storage sort of vicious cycle, that money is used to buy “stuff” or do “stuff” to fill a void in one's heart because you might now be doing something that is fulfilling and meaningful. As I type the last sentence, I realize that I wonder how many folks will understand the difference in working for a wage and working for a purpose or passion? To me, it makes a giant difference in how you use your time.
With working for a wage, you line up how fast you can do the project well, and then go after it in the hopes of getting it done sooner. Have you ever worked with people just filling the time of the day to collect hours versus achieving the result? It is like working with people seeming to be walking around with wet concrete stuck to their boots.
If you are working with passion and meaning, the reality is you don’t really feel like you are working. Sure there are the moments when you are doing the parts of the work few want to do. The dirty, smelly, ugly, hard, or physically demanding seemingly meaningless parts that have to be done. Why? It is because 80% of most work that is good, required a lot of prep work before the final layer of finish can be applied. If you are working with a purpose, this work doesn't’ seem so hard or complicated. The other odd part is working with a purpose is that you really can quickly lose track of time, as the work is almost like breathing. You found a project to immerse yourself.
I do get a lot of the world is about stuff, things, prestige, titles, fashion and make-up, and acquisition of items. This isn’t bad at all, yet, I really am seeing where it really gets to gunk up and confuse the meaning of life with the more layers and things you have to worry about. On the personal front, I really am going more into minimalism and even simplicity. Why? It merely opens up more time to work on that which I am passionate about.
Part of me wonders if I didn't’ get the normal DNA strand about how important life is about looking a certain way versus who you are inside or what your view and purpose in life is. I have to confess, I am amazed at the shift in priorities once I asked, “why?” to all my obligations. Most didn’t have a good reason for why I was doing them. When I let go of them, the priorities came into focus more natural.
I will close when I showed up to a meeting with that one powerful executive, in a room surrounded by all the senior level executives all in their nice suits and ties who were instructed to implement the plans of leadership and grow, not regress. One day I had a pile of notes and a new idea and was in shorts and a gold shirt. one of the executives was upset at my attire, and I will never forget the powerful man looking at the other man, “we don’t pay mark for what he dresses in to impress us, we pay him for coming up with ideas for us to make money with.”
While I do realize having great form, etiquette, and a structure of rules is essential. I often wonder how much it can inhibit growth and change in people versus merely getting them to conform and never ask or do more. It is a bit like legalism and religion. I was walking down the road today and wondering, “if Jesus was alive today, would he have the same thoughts about some of the Christian leadership that he did with the Jewish leadership when he walked the planet?”
rules are fine if used as guidelines, not anchors.