This is a Guest Post by Matt Ragland, a writer who explores the motivations behind our choices, and how people prioritize what is really important to them. Learn more about him on his blog and then follow him on Twitter and Google+.
I love this quote by The Avett Brothers:
If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected, decide what to be, and go be it.
Can I tell you a secret? I think you know it already, deep in your soul, but it bears repeating. You are enough. Your wonderful convergence of talent, mindset, and experiences all blend together to make a particular mark on this world.
We forget this signature fact on our souls, and get caught up in what we think is needed to be happy, contributing, respected members of society. It permeates everything in our life, and is a fact we need to repeat every single day we are alive.
So, let’s talk about work for a moment, shall we?
The work we do plays a huge role in who we are. Our work consumes the majority of our waking hours, pays the bills, and keeps food on the table. A rhythm of work is a good thing. What we need to guard against is the mindset that your work is all you are, or that a particular job or trade defines you, making you incapable of contributing in other ways.
Last month, I had to let a person go from my team. He was crushed, because the work was everything to him. Without it, he felt like a nobody; incomplete. My heart broke for him.
The work I do is incredibly meaningful and I’m passionate about it, but I know it does not define me! If I could no longer do it, I would be ok. I can find other ways to contribute, help others, and support my family. Because at the core of my being, I know I am enough. I don’t need any particular job, title, or dollar amount to prop up as evidence of who I am.
Another example is the person who finds meaning in her work because of the status, power, and possesions afforded by her salary. She has beautiful clothes, a fast car, and a luxury apartment overlooking the city. If those things are no longer an option, she feels empty.
This is NOT How Life Has to Be!
If your current job didn’t exist, what would you do? If you are let go, where would you turn? This isn’t about a hectic search of the same old same old, it’s about knowing you have enough within yourself to hustle and make things work. You have a specific set of talents and gifts which can be used to create a meaningful business.
This transition may be difficult at first, but now you are centered enough to deal with adversity. Short-term success does not define you. You may need to go out to eat less, or hold off on buying new clothes, but you can make it work. Where you check-in on Facebook, and the clothes you wear, does not define you. You may need to enjoy a stay-cation, but your family can still have fun. Where you take vacation photos does not define you.
What defines you? The person you are in your truest self. One of the biggest personal breakthroughs in my life is the realization that I am enough. I don’t need the power, prestige, and possessions to find my meaning. I still struggle, I desire objects and recognition, but I’m doing better at taking a step back and realizing that isn’t who I am.
For me, and others, I find meaning in God’s love, knowing I don’t have to prove anything. Your definition may be in your relationships, personal growth, or a business you’ve created. Your work now reflects the talent and unique perspective only you can give.
You find meaning in the ways you enrich the lives of customers, make them smile, and help them pursue their own calling. I’m no longer a slave to a particular type of work or job, because I can contribute to my community (and the world) through writing, helping people, coaching, serving coffee, cooking food, and encouraging them live the lives they’re called to.
I am enough, what about you?