Work to live or live to work?

work life


If you do what you love for a living, does that take the love out of it and turn it into work?

work life

I have pondered and been asked this time-tested question frequently over the last few years. This came roaring back at me when I considered leaving the corporate world for non profit a few years ago. In fact, it came out as an accusation from most people, not even a question! But it’s a great inquiry that re-surfaced recently in a discussion with my friend (a small business owner), so I’m happy to revisit it because for the first time, I have a different opinion.

I truly believe, now moreso than ever, that we should get to spend every waking minute of our lives doing what we love. This supports our playing BIG in this world and helps us use our God-given talents to the fullest. Instead of fearing the potential for failure, we must summon the courage to leap towards the potential of sheer and utter happiness! These days, I much rather take the glass-half-full approach and spend my time radiating love rather than trudging through the day and settling for a paycheck.  The potential for failure or judgement is very real, but the idea of settling for so-so is much worse in the long run. My teacher always says, “If you can, you must.” We must all live our roles on this Earth fully by following our hearts.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

There are three parts to understanding your gift:

  1. Knowing what you’re good at
  2. Knowing what you enjoy
  3. Knowing and staying true to what you value

Then, instead of aiming for this phenomenon of work life balance which no one can truly seem to grasp, we can just focus on being whole. Not balanced but completely whole. And  when you find that you are whole, you can begin to tap in to the possibility of sharing yourself, your time, and your love.

As a business person, I have lived with the Total Leadership philosophy for the past several years. It’s this idea that you can maximize four quadrants of your life to achieve the fullness you want in each area: self, family/friends, work, and community. My new thinking simplifies this concept to just whole living from body, mind, and heart. I truly feel that if you are whole in all these areas, you will naturally begin to impact every sector of your life because they will all start to bleed together as one. Through restoring yourself, you have the capacity to stand for others. These guiding principles in life show up for me daily in the form of exercise/yoga and eating healthy foods (body), meditating and writing (mind), and just being with my significant other (heart). This ultimately leads to freedom and peace in my soul and allows me to give to others unconditionally.

So instead of playing this balancing act with the full plate you already have (work, kids, spouse, working out, volunteering, etc.), take some time to get grounded in your truth. Know that true transformation starts within, and when you make yourself whole, it radiates out to the entire world. I intentionally start every day saying, “Today is the best day of my life!” And most days it’s true because all these facets for whole living are fully in play within me. No matter what happens that day, I am grounded, centered, unmessable with.

I know. I can hear all the rebuttals and excuses your mind is making. My mind holds these thoughts too. It’s such a simple concept but not so easy to execute. This is why life is a practice. But this is what makes life truly worth living. So go find your gift and give it away. Let your love become your life’s purpose.

what do you think?

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