The why

Written by Michael Lee on November 3, 2016

Life is not a support system for your work; your work is a support system for your life. No amount of success is worth losing the ones you love the most. — Jeff Goins, The Art of Work

I just finished Jeff Goins’ book, The Art of Work, a book that I have been quoting a lot lately. It has challenged my thoughts about work. In a society that seems to praise those that hustle, it was refreshing to read a book that focused on work and how it fits into life. Going beyond a vocation and aligning your perspectives on a calling.

In the chapter titled, Magnum opus — Latin for “great work” — Jeff shares the quote above and it made me really think about work. Work for me has been for the past few years about leaving some contribution to the world in some way. Broad, I know but I simply wanted to make a difference in some way with my work.

But upon reading the quote above and the chapter that supports it, it made me question at what cost will the work be realized. I then thought about the why? Why do I do this work? What happens when I’ve made that contribution thus satisfying my goal? Will I be content with the results, or will there be another mountain to climb?

In the pace and direction I was going, I do believe the trajectory is obvious. The question is, when I get to where I want to be, will my beloved family and friends celebrate with me or will they simply be reminded of all sacrifices and battles that soured the journey to get there?

A couple of years ago, when I made the decision to pursue being a work-from-home father, my desire was simply to be there for more of my family’s firsts — my kids’ first time walking, talking, potty-training. I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to work from home and be in so much of my family’s lives.

And upon reading Jeff’s book, I am reminded that the why of my work shouldn’t be for a gold star on some chart for career success but my work — be it through a job or business — is to afford me more quality time to spend with my biggest cheerleaders — my wife and my kids.

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