Why do you do what you do? What is your real work in the world, and why is it important to know the answer?
I'm an entrepreneur at heart. I have started and run several businesses, and as I look back, I think the most important element in financial and personal success is awareness of purpose and the capacity to stay open to it.
Many years ago I was a participant in a seminar. At the end, the leader took us through a guided meditation in which we asked ourselves, "What is my purpose for doing the work I do, in my relationships, and for being alive in this time and place?"
The word 'connection' popped up in my mind, and it felt right. My work then and now is helping people manage conflict with power and grace, and about removing the barriers to connection. Outside of work, as well, I want my actions to reflect this purpose. So when the word came up in the meditation all those years ago, it gave a name to something I already recognized.
My work is still about connection. On rough days, knowing this keeps me going. On good days, when life flows, it is reaffirmed. It doesn't matter whether it makes sense to anyone else. My life is about connection.
What about you? What purpose underlies your work and your life? Is it Creativity? Compassion? Diversity? Empowerment? Relationship? Health? Beauty? Spirituality? Love? These concepts occur as I think of friends and colleagues and their work in the world.
Like peeling an onion, the external layers of our work are the activities we engage in. Each layer moves us closer to a central purpose that is behind the time and effort we expend, and behind the gratitude with which we celebrate our success.
So take some time today to give yourself a gift. Close your eyes, relax, and ask your inner wisdom what your work is really about. Then keep that in front of you as a beacon. Refine it, nurture it, and hold it close at hand. This is essentially what each of us is called to do -- to explore and to discover our fundamental motivation, not just occasionally but every day, and with every decision. You'll rediscover, reinvent and revitalize your work, moment to moment. And you'll have fun doing it. I wish you good energy.
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action. . . You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that activate you. Keep the channel open.
Martha Graham, dancer, choreographer