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A Life's Work
Off The Beaten Path
What is your life’s work?
Maybe not the type of question you want to casually toss about at dinner parties.
Maybe not the type of question you ever need to ponder, even in a quiet moment.
A simple life can be full and pleasurable. So why overthink it? Why overthink life?
Yet something about this question just deeply interests me. It stirs something in me. This is enough for me to know there is something in it for me, something worth pondering.
It might be for you as well.
Most people I know work at jobs or run their own businesses.
But very few pursue it as part of their life’s work. Something they just have to do, must do, not because it pays the bills, or is the most practical thing to do. But because of something much, much more. Maybe it’s a deep love and passion for the work. And/or something beyond them - how the work impacts the people and world around them.
A beautiful confluence of passion, purpose and hopefully profit. Such people just have the clarity to recognize it, and the courage to wholeheartedly pursue it.
We know the more famous ones: Edwin Land’s (founder of Polaroid and Steve Jobs’s hero) work was inventing things, Steve Jobs was making “insanely great products” (his words), Enzo Ferrari’s was building and racing cars, Christopher Nolan’s is making great movies, etc. (Interestingly, most who achieve fame and fortune do so because they devote themselves to their life’s work - maybe a lesson in there).
It could be anything - cleaning houses, writing code, creating art, engineering, teaching, managing projects, marketing, human resources, running a daycare, a non-profit etc.
The difference between a job (or running a business) and pursuing your life’s work:
A job pays your bills. Your life’s work fills your soul.
You clock out and eventually retire from a job. Your life’s work never ends.
You produce at a job. Your life’s work is about creation.
Carrots, sticks and OKRs drive job performance. Passion and fire drive your life’s work.
You follow rules and schedules at a job. Your life’s work brings freedom and sovereignty.
A job requires work-life balance. Your life’s work is…your life.
A job is a contract. Your life’s work is devotion.
Jobs are for mercenaries. A life’s work is for missionaries.
Maybe this isn’t for everyone. Like I said earlier, let’s not overthink it.
But if you’re still reading, if you’re still curious, if you’re still interested, then maybe this is for you.
Maybe you’re not meant to be working just any job (no matter how much it pays). Maybe you’re not meant to be running just any business.
Maybe you’re meant to do something your soul craves.
Maybe there is something you just have to do, must do.
Maybe this is your life’s work calling you.
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