It’s Monday morning and we’re on the manufacturing floor where all the action happens. We’re surrounded by million dollar machines and teams of people who make it all come to life. As hundreds of shampoo bottles fly by every minute, my co-worker and I pick up a conversation that we started during a meeting which took place a few hours earlier. The meeting was about taking our collective sense of “give a shit” to the next level.
He confesses that he and a lot of other people think work is mostly about getting cases of shampoo and conditioner out the door.
Then he says that, after having worked with me for a couple of years, I seem to have a different level of passion about everything I do.
He’s right. But, I don’t think it means that I’m any better—I’ve just asked different questions.
Before I get to those questions, I’ll add that he doesn’t give himself enough credit. I’ve seen him work with passion and have seen the sense of pride in his face when he knows he put in a good day.
What does the money I get to work really mean to me?
Income matters but acknowledging what it allows me to do matters more. I get paid well above the minimum amount someone would need to live. I spend the rest on:
- healthy food from the local Whole Foods like store
- a few, high quality items for our house
- weekly dates with my wife
- giving to charities with causes we want to support
- travel all over the US and overseas
- and many other adventures on my ever-growing list of “dreams”
The bottom line is that the monetary compensation I earn on my job allows me to have the lifestyle my wife and I want while equally setting ourselves up for financial security today and onwards.
What do I get from work in addition to the money I get paid?
In an essay I wrote earlier this year, I tell the story behind how I get paid two salaries at work. The roles I’ve had in my career has impacted the man I’ve become today—and for that I’ll always be grateful. I discovered my few key strengths and my many “opportunity” areas. More importantly, the environment forced me to grow.
What bigger purpose am I able to contribute to?
When I look back at my best days at work, the all include helping others become successful by having conversations just like the one I was having with this team member. Coaching people to shift their mindset such that their professional (and maybe even personal) level of fulfillment increases is, in my mind, my greatest contribution. My organization has delivered tens of millions of dollars in savings and sales in just the past couple of years but my pride lies with the impact I’ve had with people.
By asking these questions, I’ve raised my own level of engagement. That’s all I needed. I didn’t need a new boss, new team members, new responsibilities… I just needed to reframe and redefine what my job meant to me. After doing so, my work felt more worthwhile.
I’m not saying I’m maniacally passionate every day and definitely not every hour of the day. But by making a habit of reminding myself why I show up, it affects how I show up.
It’s your turn. Why do you go to work?
Ciao for now,
Like this essay? Get an update via email when I publish something new. Oh and the best compliment you can give me is sharing this with a few of your friends using the social share buttons below!