What would happen if we all decided to experience our everyday work as a calling like the nuns on Sister Act? It worked for Whoopy Goldberg (lol)! This is what Tal Ben-Shahar in his book, Choose the Life You Want, p.37 (that I am basing my 101 blog challenge on), writes...
If we do not experience a sense of purpose in our work, we can choose to do one of two things (aside from resigning ourselves to being unhappy): find work that is meaningful, or find something meaningful in our work.
I am fascinated by people I know who do jobs that aren't glamorous, but are incredibly happy. Equally fascinating, I know others in glamorous positions who are incredibly unhappy.
We spend so many hours, days, weeks, and years on our work - paid and unpaid, it makes sense that we would want to make it a priority to make our everyday work our calling... to find purpose and meaning.
I remember this older woman who worked in one of those little gas station shacks. That was back in the day when you couldn't "pay at the pump" and a live person had to collect your payment. It was a frigid night, dark and icy. I held my coat closed against the cold, cuz it was missing a button, as I made my way to the shack. And I thought to myself, what a miserable job...all alone, in a tiny booth surrounded by gas pumps in the dead of winter. Nope. Not even.
As I get closer, the woman - the gas attendant - is smiling at me. My mood lifts a bit, at least I know she'll be friendly. Her smile does not diminish, as she runs my credit card and we wait for approval (dial up internet was slow). She smiles bigger, leans closer to the glass window separating us and says to me, "your coat is beautiful, I bet it's cashmere." I am flattered, I find myself smiling back broadly explaining it's not cashmere and how a friend of mine gifted it to me when she moved out of state. I feel my mood elevate and I am feeling warmer too. The woman insisted that it was probably cashmere, still smiling, slides my credit card back through the small mouse-like hole in booth's window.
When I got back in the family van, I found myself still smiling. I forgot about the frigid, dark night amongst the sea of ugly gas pumps. She waved to me as I drove away...to the freedom of my home and my glamorous job. And she was still smiling in that terrible gas shack.
I think the gas attendant found meaning in her work. She found something that she could do to make the work meaningful - connecting to others. I think it was her calling. It was over 25 years ago and I remember that interaction like it was yesterday. Not only did she find meaning in her work, if her calling was giving joy to other people, she was highly successful.
I think of her many times, this lesson she taught me. Especially when I assess my happiness in my work or getting overwhelmed with the un-fun parts of running my own business. I remind myself, if the woman in the gas shack can find meaning, I can find it too.
Blogging is part of my larger calling. I want to make a difference in the lives of others and I hope that one of these 101 blogs makes you smile...just like that gas attendant made me smile. https://www.silverliningsinternational.org/blog
Experience your work as a calling, it is a choice.
And you might make someone's day.