Focusing on the Work Won’t Work
The biggest mistake I made in my working life was that I thought work was about working and life was about life. My view artificial in much the same way that school was about getting homework done so that I could get on with with life.
I would focus on the work and making it outstanding, a cut above. I suspect I thought I’d leave a legacy — that the work would be changed, different, and dare I say better, because I had been a part. I lost sight of, maybe I never truly saw, the people I relied upon. At best, I left a shallow, crumbling legacy — easy surpassed, and best forgotten, fueled by transactions more than relationships.
No one changes the world focusing on the work.
BigStock: We’re alive
when we’re working.
We can’t separate the work we do from our lives. It’s not a case of balance — we can’t separate out the time that we work from the time we’re alive. I won’t give up my right to breathe and be on the planet for my right to work. Work fills my need to be fully safe and human, but I is not my life.
Why work? Maslow described how our human needs are met by work. Despite limitations of the hierarchy it makes a nice framework for building a world-changing team..
- Work for life. We work because we have needs. We expend energy to sustain life with food, clothing, shelter, and sex, which will ensure the existence of the species.
- Work for security and safety. We do things to alleviate our fear of loss from real and imagined dangers.
- Work for social interaction. We find our place in society by building things with others. by feeling we fit as part of our group.
- Work for a sense of personal value – respect for ourselves and respect from others. We build out our confidence, competence, self esteem, and sense of status from the recognition, reputation, and appreciation of others as well.
- Work to reach our potential. In other words, we expend energy to accomplish things so that we can use what we’ve got, become what we could be, change the world for the better.
Why work? If we look at it right, work — not just earnings — but the act of work can offer us a better life.
Don’t Just Labor, Labor for Love
We all know that we work for life, security and safety, social interaction and respect. Leaders realize the potential we could reach if we channel that energy in the same positive direction, if we put labor into a labor of love to raise up the people who help us thrive.
By supporting those same human needs in all of the people who build our businesses — employees, vendors, managers, partners, customers, families, friends — we can make our work better our lives. The very act of our work can satisfy our human needs, our soulful yearning, and our deep and immediate need to offer a legacy to those who come behind.
All we have to do is be and allow it.
Be a person who lives life and who lets others live life too.
Be a person who knows security and who lets others be secure too.
Be a person who decides to belong and who lets others know they belong too.
Be a person who respects yourself and others and who lets others know that same round respect too.
Be a person who lives up to your potential and lets others see and live up their own.
In other words, don’t just labor, labor for love.
We can change the world, just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss