What if I told you work can bring you greater satisfaction, greater contentment, greater knowing of who you are and a greater sense of purpose in life, that in and of itself will provide a level of energy and vitality beyond your wildest expectations?
You might think I was off the mark, perhaps idealistic, or simply wrong. Surely work in the way we typically think of it is above all about generating income to live, to care for yourself and your family? In a really good job it might support your going home satisfied in your contribution at the end of the day, knowing you have made a difference. But let’s be real for a moment; how many people at the end of the work week go home thinking “thank God it’s Friday” versus “I made a difference at work this week, and I love my job”. Clearly the former is the more common experience, followed by a weekend of escaping the trauma of the previous week, and all too soon we are back in the fray first thing Monday, ready to do it all again, just so the bills get paid.
But what if there was more to work than surviving the week and making money. What if the root of our inability to truly enjoy and engage with our work is how we think about work, and what society’s expectations have led us to believe about work? What if the entire premise of what work is, is fundamentally flawed?
When we are younger, we are often asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up”? There is an underlying question within this question that diverts us at a very early age from the true meaning of work. When you ask “what do you want to be”, the word “be” is the key word. The question is asking you to be something in order to be someone. Within that preface is the requirement for you to be something in order to be accepted, worthy and recognised.
In other words, if you can be something through doing something you will be worth something.
Thereby, through your work, the question proposes, you will be someone. So the premise has been set that work is the vehicle through which you will be worth something, which also supposes you are not already worthy.
To be worth something in your job, you have to be the job. You have to be a teacher, rather than a man or a woman who works as a teacher. You have to be a doctor, rather than a person who works as a doctor. By being the role, and generating income, you are given worth (or so the false premise says).
When you are born, your worth is not questioned. Almost without exception when anyone looks at a child, their essence, the quality that they are, we cannot help but be in adoration of all they are. Each of us when we are born is known to be worthy of being alive, simply because of who we are and not because we have done anything at all. So, where along the way of being a child does our innate worth become no longer accepted and change into now you have to ‘do something’ and ‘be something’ to be considered worthy?
When the seemingly innocent question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is asked, it is clear if we are willing to look at it with fresh eyes, there has been a diversion from considering us worthy simply by being who we are. Thereby the true meaning of work has now been lost.
Who you are, or will be, is not determined by your work.
The Ageless Wisdom teaches us that who you are is a being – a being within the body. That being who is you is innately worthy. Everyone has an essence or being within that is who they are, and even though our essences are all unique, they are also equal regardless of the differences. They all are innately worthy. You do not need anyone or any job to tell you your worth, for it is already in place.
If we look at what work is from the lens that within you is a being who is already worthy, then what is work for – what is its purpose?
Who you are, the being within, is needed by the world. Who you are is the only one of you. Your essence, your expression, is unique to you, and it is a part of what makes the world whole.
Work is the activity of your life that enables you to activate, express, contribute, and enjoy the being within you in the world. When you work you are taking your being out into the world. Your worth is unquestioned, and from there the question ‘what is work?’ can now be answered.
Work is a place to bring the being you are to the world. It matters not what the work is, but only that the being is working. When the being is working it needs no accolades, but asks what is needed, and responds to the all, rather than through its own needs. The essence within us LOVES to work. It goes to work joyfully knowing there is a great purpose in taking that being to the work at hand.