Which Ladder?

If you think about, we do some weird things for money.

We put ourselves through years of gruelling study, after choosing a course, a university, specific subjects, work part time at the same time as writing assignments, actually writing assignments the night before they are due, find a job and then work in that job to make money.

Then we realise we don’t like that job and find another job that makes more money.

Then work more hours than necessary to progress our way up in the organisation to another job, that pays even more money with even longer hours.

This is a career. It could lead us to spend our entire working life climbing our way up the ladder only to discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.

But what if there is another way?

What if, instead of a career, we searched for a vocation, which is almost a calling, something that you can find significant fulfillment in. You can still climb the ladder, but it is leaning up against a more meaningful wall.

To tell the difference between a career and a vocation comes down to our motivation. If money is the main thing that you are aiming for then you could be happy with a career, but if a sense of purpose in your work is important then a vocation may be what you are after.

The real test to see if you are working in a career or a vocation is this…

If you didn’t need the salary anymore, would you still work in that job?

 If so, then it is probably a vocation.

Sometimes the cost of a vocation is a lower wage, but if you are willing to sacrifice that then it is all worth it.

In all of this, I find myself wondering about how this philosophy works in developing countries. For someone living on less than $2.50 a day, is this even something that they have the opportunity to think about?

Finding Purpose

What gets you up in the morning?

The excitement of a new day filled with possibilities, the sound of children waking up and destroying things, or the desire for caffeine? Perhaps all of the above.

We all have at least one motivating factor that keeps us going day in and day out – and the most difficult time in life comes when we lose that connection with what motivates us. Which brings about a sense of hopelessness and can make everything we do seem mundane.

The key that I have discovered is to connect with a purpose that is bigger than just me. Something greater which reaches beyond what I am capable of and impacts the world positively.

I recently came across a guy who was working for a corporation for 25 years. Not long ago this business partnered with a group who were freeing slaves in Cambodia – now they are putting money in to making the world a better place, providing hope for people, and at the same time creating a purpose that is bigger than themselves.

The employee said,

“…for 25 years I never told anyone where I worked, now I will tell everyone, I am so proud of what we do.”

Finding purpose can take the mundane and transform it into a world changing event.

What is your purpose? What do you connect with that reaches beyond what you can do by yourself?

Motivated

Have you ever wondered why you act in a certain way?

When I was younger I used to sit at the back of every classroom, meeting room or theatre I found myself in. I would tell myself I did that because I was a ‘Back Row Bandit’, and I was rebelling against the system of rows that we were forced to comply with. I was a freedom fighter of sorts…

Over time I discovered that wasn’t true. In reality I was feeling insecure and I worried that if someone was sitting behind me they could see over my shoulder and observe my actions and realise that I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to be found out – it’s not an uncommon experience I’ve discovered.

Understanding why we do the things that we do can be one of the most complicated elements of being a human. We are intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical beings and at any given moment there can be a dozen influences at play within us that can effect our behaviour.

Allowing ourselves time and space to reflect and ask the ‘5 Why’s’ can assist in the discovery of the root cause of any sort of behaviour, career choice, reason why we choose to be generous, or reason why we choose not to.

It’s not a judgemental process but a great tool that we can use to get to the heart of why we do the things we do.

Sit down, think of something you do consistently (this could be something great that you do), or a behaviour that you wish to change, and ask yourself why you do it. For every response you have follow it up with another why. Be honest, gracious and intentional. Once you get to 5 why’s you are well on your way to understanding your motivation, which could be fear (much of what motivates me to do things that I don’t really want to do is fear), or regret, or pain. When you can articulate what motivates you (again, without judgement), you can begin to make conscious choices to change or refine that behaviour. This is a step in the journey of living life on purpose.