I read a quote the other day that set me to thinking. “Your net work is not your life’s work”. credit I thought about what I am doing, or not doing, and the choices I have been fortunate enough to make. I’m one of those people that often thinks I am not doing enough, that I should be working more or should get “real” job. I was raised in the “80’s during the time that women were to “have it all”. They were supposed to be able to “bring home the bacon and cook it up in the pan.” Remember that commercial? My parents set out a path for me to attend college and have a career. So, I have four years of college and a journalism degree then three years of law school under my belt. I wouldn’t trade those opportunities and experiences for anything. I did practice law and have a career. However, flash forward three children later and the travel, briefs and court hearings were taken place by the work of making bottles, potty training, and preschool projects.
Trading in that paycheck was frightening. It did require some creativity in paying the bills at times but that sacrifice at the time was where my life’s work needed to be. These days I’ve found other work that truly feeds my passion, need for a creative outlet and love of people. After leaving the practice of law I began teaching aerobics classes as I had done while in law school. From teaching those early classes at local gyms when the boys were small, I was asked to lead a group of women at our local park and our bootcamp type classes we call Fit in 50 (minutes!) began and are still going . . . and it’s been 10 years! Imagine!
These days I teach about seven classes a week at different places. Every day is different, every class is different and every group has new energy and atmosphere. I love what I do. I love being with these people, trying to motivate them, trying to challenge them, trying to entertain folks through one more set of squats, trying to inspire them. Even on days when I might be under the weather or just not feel peppy, I still love the work.
I know I am not doing it for the money. I’ll never get rich from being a fitness instructor! But, here’s why this life’s work is perfect for me:
After a class this morning a slim young woman approached me and asked me if I was who I am and that she recognized me. She said years ago she joined me at our workouts in the park. At the time she had never exercised, did not think about exercising or think about what she was eating. (She’s one of those naturally thin women so she never was faced with a reason!) She said joining our group completely changed her mindset about her body and taking care of herself. At the time she could barely keep up, but now is as fit as ever. She has been exercising ever since and says she always mentions me when telling how her life changed.
I have to admit she made my day. To think she remembered and recognized me AND that she complimented ME with her making those changes. Of course, I know there were lots of other factors for any changes she had, but her approaching me was complete validation for doing what I do. It warmed my heart.
So, when I begin to think that I should get a “real” job, I know that the bigger paycheck will not reward me nearly as much as the experiences I receive or those little gifts I get from people I come across. I always felt as if I let my parents down, especially my mother, when I stopped using my law degree. That was until the last couple of years when I would hear her brag to her friends about what I was doing and help I was giving.
“A life’s worth, in the end, isn’t measured in hours or money. It’s measured by the amount of love exchanged along the way.” ~Unknown
This same thought process goes for anything you do as your life’s work. Maybe you are not in a position to completely quit your day job and feed your non-paying passion. Few people can do that in this day and age. So perhaps your life’s work has to be outside of your net work. That’s when you can feed your passion through creative outlets, volunteer work or hobbies.
The Husband always loved coaching our three sons. I’m talking LOVED doing it. Especially football. I knew during football season to just leave him be. He was busy drafting, preparing, planning, making plays, filling water bottles, fixing helmets and shoulder pads and the list goes on. His greatest joy was to have some little boy approach him in the grocery store, at a school event or in a restaurant and come shake his hand and call him “coach”. He just loved working with those little guys. However, my boys have outgrown playing football in a recreational league. So very sad for The Husband, but that didn’t stop him. He was back out on the football field this past Fall with a new group of boys, making plays, fixing helmets and cheering them on. I’m sure he will be back next Season and that’s where he should be, making some of his own life’s work out there. Not for the money, not for his net work, but to feed his passion.
Our purpose in life is simple. We all have gifts to share.
Purpose is your ability to take the creative energies you have and communicating them with the world. You and I might pick different mediums, but the act of purpose is exactly the same. You could be a manager crafting the art of dealing with people, a programmer crafting the knowledge of algorithms or an entrepreneur crafting the art of a business. credit.
It may take a while for you to find your life’s work. Maybe you’ve been working so hard you have forgotten your true talents and passions. Once you find it, it will be your greatest asset. It is what you can share here on this earth. Since we can’t take our net work with us in the end, we might as well find that passion and foster our life’s work.
Where do you spend your time? Have you found your passion? Your life’s work? And FYI, still no FB for me . . . .