Monday, June 9, 2008

Great Work or a Job?

Commitment is passion. Commitment says I dedicate my whole being to this. Commitment should be deep, root, a source of energy. Work that you are committed to creates this paradoxical cycle: the more you work the more energy you have. Commitment should be that place where intellect and gut intertwine, where values are transformed into actions. We use the word commitment lightly, or numbly, because many of us are not reflective about daily life and how we spend our time. We hold a job, not engage in great work.

We think of work all too often as a job, not as a commitment, a passion, a chance to show daily what we believe in. To use an ancient term that Carl Jung recast, we should see our work as our mandala. Our work should be that sacred place and sacred endeavor that allows us to give our gifts to the world. Our work should feed our sense of self and our sense of purpose. We spend way too many hours at work, physically and emotionally, for it not to. If work is not a great source of creativity and pride for us, then we are doing the wrong work. And, the wrong work has no chance of being great work.

Steve Jobs, in his commencement address to Stanford Class of 2005, says it well:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. I’m convinced that the
only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. Your work is
going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly
satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do
great work is to love what you do. Don’t settle [for less]. As with all
matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

Work is about the heart as much as it is the head. We must find work we can be committed to and passionate about in order to create greatness for others, and for ourselves. We must help others find work they can be committed to instead of just holding jobs in our organizations.

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