Do you ever find yourself at work or in life wondering: What is the point of all of this?
I certainly do. And I've spent countless hours, read hundreds of books, and poured my heart out in the pages of my journal trying to answer that question. What's the Point?
I had a conversation with a guy at a bar years ago about our career aspirations and life in general, and he said something that I'll never forget. "I always knew that I was meant to work on something special."
Although I had never put it into those words, I realized that I had always felt the same way - like a yearning and a knowing deep in my soul.
I want to work on something special.
I think we all long to do something special. We all long to do meaningful work that makes us happy and makes the world a better place. We all long to do something special in our private lives, to BE someone else's someone special. We all want to feel love and acceptance and value.
The bar guy told me all about his job at a national security complex, and how he was finally doing his something special; he was living his dream. Despite the trials and the difficulties of his work, he made a point to keep the idea that he was doing something special at the front of his mind. I'm sure that was great motivation for him when the job got hard, or boring, or mundane... he just checked in with himself and remembered that THIS IS MY SOMETHING SPECIAL.
Sometimes I struggle with finding this kind of meaning in my day-to-day life. I wonder WHAT'S THE POINT? I want to help others, and have a purposeful existence. I enjoy my work enough, but I don't always see an immediate connection between what I'm doing and how it is making the world a better place. I have trouble sometimes stepping back and looking at the big picture of not just what I'm doing, but why I'm doing it.
Last week, I was able to make that connection in a real and immediate way at work, and it felt amazing.
I met with one of my company's school clients to select interior finishes for their project. The project manager and I sat with the school principal for hours, pouring over tiny squares of fabric and color, making sure we found just the right shade of gray. As we got to each different classroom, the principal called in additional opinions. The band director had input on what she wanted in her room - nothing to busy but something that hides dirt well; a splash of color on the walls. Then the art teacher got to select colors for her new art room - she wanted black counter tops and tack boards to set the background for the student artwork. She hadn't seen the design for her new space yet, so we walked her through it on the drawings. She practically cried with happiness when she saw the new space that she was receiving. This new school, this classroom, it was HER space. She would spend eight hours every day for years to come existing in this space that WE created.
At some point during this encounter, it dawned on me that something I had helped to create affects her happiness so directly, and THAT is something special indeed!
I was talking with a very wise man this week, and he said to me: "Haley, the Point is LOVE." Our purpose in life and in work is to grow in love and acceptance of ourselves and one another. It's that simple. And the good news is that we can do that WHEREVER we are. It doesn't matter if I'm designing skyscrapers in New York City, or picking out colors for someone's bathroom, or raising small children at home. In any of these situations, I have the opportunity to love the people around me; to love myself; to accept myself as I am; to accept others as they are; to be compassionate. No matter what situation I find myself in, the point remains the same: LOVE.
What's your something special? How do you find meaning in your day to day life? Let me know in the comments below how you express LOVE in your work or in your life? I'd love to hear from you!
Till next time,
© Haley McManigal 2016
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