Is it for money? Is it to provide for our family? Is it for power? Is it out of a sense of obligation? Is it because that’s what we were told to do? Is it because that’s what responsible people do?
Personally I do it for the chicks. I work to support the 3 most important ladies in my life – my wife and two daughters.
There’s a part of me that works for cash. I need the money to support my family. I like the freedom it brings me so that I can take the family on trips to Disney.
I like being able to buy my toys. I’m what you’d call an Apple junkie. I like being able to buy the latest technology.
The money, the freedom and the sense of responsibility are all key motivators.
However I think that there is something more to work. Something deeper than this, something more meaningful.
If I fast forward to the end of my life, what would matter to me on my death bed? Would I care about the money?
Would I feel any regrets about following the path that someone else laid out before me or for not following my own path?
Would I be concerned that my family was being taken care of? Perhaps being able to pass on money to my kids would be important.
Did I do my best?
However I think the most important aspect of work has nothing to do with money, power, or responsibility. What I would be thinking, on my deathbed is: Did I do my best?
Did I make an impact on my family?
Did I show them not only how to survive, but thrive in the world? Did I set an example on how to be successful in the world?
How will I be remembered?
I might even being thinking a little about legacy. Will I be remembered? Did I make a positive impact not only on my family but also my friends, co-workers, clients, team and my tribe?
Will I be remembered for the positive way that I made an impact on other people? Or will I be remembered for being an asshole? Or worst yet, will I be forgotten?
If I think about my funeral, who would show up? How many people would be there? What would they say? How would my life be celebrated?
How many people would I have touched by my work?
Think about that for a moment … how many people would be touched by the work that you are doing? How is your work making a positive impact on the people around you? Are you doing work that matters?
This is the key question – probably the most important question of your life.
This is the question that I ask of myself. This is the question that you should be asking of yourself.
Are you doing work that matters? That really matters?
I think most us would like to answer yes to this question.
We would like to believe that our work is making a difference, and that through our work we are making a positive impact on the people around us.
We can always do better.
The truth is that regardless of our answer, we can always do better.
We can make some adjustments, change some behaviours, adjust some beliefs, make tiny shifts, and align our work closer to our purpose.
We can be more compassionate, understanding and forgiving of ourselves and toward other people.
We can remember to breath, pause, and reconnect with what is important to us.
We can remember to be present.
Then, and only then, can we get back to work.