Do you love your work?
And a slightly different question. Do you love working?
It surprised me when I moved to Australia and I found so many people wanting to retire as early as possible. My Chinese Master taught me to expect to work until the day I die so I’ve never had any imagination that I would ever stop. As a result it was essential for me to love my work, otherwise that would be a grim prospect.
I find most of my friends and closest colleagues are very similar. They can’t imagine stopping work. It’s the way they express themselves and contribute and it’s a pleasure to work.
BUT – and it’s a big BUT – most of us can imagine working a better way. Even those who’ve mastered delegation, time management and getting stuff done rarely seem to want to continue in the same way as they are now.
So my question is have you ever really stopped to ask yourself how you’d like to work instead. It’s easy to say “I want to work less hours” or “I don’t want to do this particular task any more” or “I want more time for myself and my family” or “Something’s got to change.”
But WHAT? How would you like it to change? Can you actually imagine it? Do you have a picture or a feeling of what it could be like? Can you see how you’d do things differently, both work and non-work? What’s the energy of the change? What would be the result for you and others if you made that change?
This kind of change takes consciousness. It doesn’t happen just because you feel like it. In my experience I need to engage very actively with any significant change in my life. Hope is not enough. Nor is avoidance.
So I’d like to invite you, along with me, to imagine how you’d love to work in the future. Can you create a powerful picture or feeling of what it would be like? Can you describe the energy of it? Can you connect with the difference it would make in your life?
This will take a bit of time. I’d suggest sitting with the question for a few days and letting ideas pop up freely for a while. And then write them down or draw them or record them as a video or whatever works for you. And if you’re willing to share this, please send it to me too. I’d love to have a look at all your ideas so I can understand better what we all share in common and what the differences are between individuals. And i’d love to feed your ideas into the course I’m preparing on “Working Light.”
I realised as I wrote this that it’s very easy to say “I’d love to work differently” but not do anything about it. And I know from experience that the hardest part is that initial engagement with what might be possible for me. That’s what I’d like to encourage you to do. Stop putting it off. And the busier you are, the more important it is. It may seem quite impossible to even think about it, but how long can you wait?
So I’m going to do it too. And I’ll share mine if it has value for anyone apart from me. Please share yours too by emailing me and let’s see if can get some traction in changing the way we work, so we all love our work and love working. That seems a worthy goal to me.
Thank you to those of you who shared your inner thoughts, following my last email. I now have an enormously rich document, 13 pages long and growing every day, full of the words that roll around in your heads when you’re working really hard. It’s fascinating and has already influenced the structure of the new course considerably.
This week’s assignment, if you feel like joining in, will add to it even more. But more important, it will be enlightening for you. It’s so worthwhile taking time to get very conscious around any significant change you want to make. Otherwise it sits on the wishlist for ever.
So please let me know what you come up with. It can be very short and concise or a stream of consciousness or anything else. You can send me keypoints or the whole thing. I’m learning so much from doing this, so I’m simply curious.