Work is for Joy

I grew up with the idea that you go to school, study, get good grades, and you get a good job, and go to work from 8 to 5.  This is a framework that I adopted from my environment – which included my parents, my family, my school, my friends, and my culture in general.

Work was something that you did, but play was for after work.  Work, by definition, was something you didn’t necessarily love, but was accepted as part of life unless you won the lottery or inherited lots of money.  It was great if you could love your work, but, that wasn’t really expected.  And, you worked hard all of your life and put away money so you could have a heyday when you retired at 65.

This belief came from the society I grew up in, the schools that I attended and my family.  I adopted it – rather unconsciously.  The only way to earn income was to pimp your knowledge and skills by becoming employed.  Which was fine, except when it felt like your soul was being sucked out or your unique contributions and creativity were being squashed into this little box.

Freedom 2Thomas Leonard, considered the father of coaching, teaches a concept called frameworks.  One of the frameworks is “Work is For Joy.”  For me, this is an intriguing and attractive idea.  It is “outside of the box” of my existing framework.  The idea that your greatest gift to the world was an extension of what came easily to you, was uniquely you, was fun for you, and used your greatest talents every day was invigorating.  “Work” instead of a drudgery, was your unique contribution to the world – a contribution that the world needs.

This is a real shift for many people – adopting the idea that Work Is For Joy.  They can’t imagine what it could be like – which is precisely why they may not achieve it.

The 8 to 5 working concept is a comfortable concept – like ‘the devil you know.’ It means life is ‘on hold’ until the weekend, or until you retire, when you finally start living and enjoying life.

I grew up with a belief that this concept provides security.  Quitting a job that paid well, even if it crushed your soul, was not the smart responsible thing to do.  Pursuing your own dream, your own joy, was okay as long as you did the safe thing, the responsible thing, and still held your life sucking secure job.

I challenge that belief. You should too.  So does Timothy Ferris.  He is the author of the book “The Four Hour Work Week.”  He encourages a concept called ‘mini retirements.’ Like all people who challenge beliefs, some people might read his book and call it ‘heresy.’  I say, be a heretic!  So does Seth Godin in his book “Tribes.”

To quote Seth Godin“Heretics are the new leaders, the ones who challenge the status quo. Who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements. The marketplace now rewards and embraces the heretics … and for the first time it’s profitable, powerful, and productive. This shift might be bigger than you think. Suddenly, heretics, troublemakers and change agents aren’t merely thorns in our side they are the keys to our success.”

Try this idea on for size.  Wear it for a while, see how it fits.  Is your life on hold until retirement?

Life is a journey – in the present moment. The nature of a journey is that each juicy moment is to be lived to the fullest.  For example, you wouldn’t plan a vacation, but decide before leaving that you might as well not go just so you can return sooner. That is silliness.  The whole point of the vacation is to enjoy the journey.  Can you transfer this concept to the work area of your life?

Questions for thought:

What are your frameworks and beliefs around work and life?

  • What did your parents teach you about school, and about work?
  • What did society teach you about school and about work?
  • What are your beliefs around security?
  • What are your beliefs around the concept “Work is for Joy?”
  • Are you moving away from what you don’t want (i.e. lack of security– or are you moving toward what you do want (i.e. your dream of pursuing work that you love)?

How would your life change if you lived the framework, Work is for Joy?

“It isn’t work, it is just long hours of fun.” – Sam Waterson, Actor, speaking on his work playing a District Attorney on Law and Order.

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Mia Turpel is life, career and business coach.  She takes you from stressed out to STREAMLINED in your life, career or business so that you can spend more time on the things you love.  Interested in more?  Be sure to sign up for STREAMLINED ezine atwww.performancesupportpartners.com for news and information on these topics and more!  Interested in coaching? Click here to sign up for a complimentary 30 exploratory session – you will be sure to go away with insights about your big game in life.