There are certain things in life I simply do not enjoy doing, and even if you offered to pay me, I wouldn’t say yes….
I’ll use cooking as an example. I hardly ever cook, although it wasn’t always that way. When I was a young woman, I loved to cook. I still have a stash of all my Martha Stewart cookbooks from the 90’s. For the first few of my children’s birthdays, I made beautiful homemade cakes. I cooked for my four kids for YEARS. I worked in a home party business that required me to prepare food for YEARS. At that time, I found purpose in the work that cooking truly is. I was fulfilling my role as a stay at home mom, while also bringing in extra income through home parties. But after many years, I was thoroughly burned out of the kitchen. At the same time as my cooking fall out, I was finding massive success in my network marketing company. I was seeing the value of my time spent pouring belief into people who wanted to change their lives, supporting like-minded leaders, and referring my network of people to life changing products. I no longer found value in cooking, and thanks to my income, it wasn’t necessary for me to cook for my family all the time.
Now, there are still instances when I revert to cooking: when entertaining family at my house, when a family in my community could use some support, or when I find a new healthy recipe that inspires me. And what do these instances have in common that bring me back to my cooking past time? In these instances, I find significance in the act of cooking. Whether it be significance due to facilitating family memories, being of service to my community, or exploring my creativity, I find worth in the effort I’m making.
Finding worth, as in this example of cooking, is imperative for our happiness when it comes to how we spend our time. It is absolutely toxic to put large amounts of time and effort into something you don’t see as significant. Especially when it comes to your work, you want to be invested in something that is so significant to you, something that you wouldn’t even need to be paid for to continue the work. Otherwise, you simply will not put your full effort into whatever the work may be.
Drawing from the work of John Maxwell and his teachings in The Power of Five, I want to outline the importance of significance in our lives.
Do something that’s bigger than you
There were times as a stay at home mom that I thought I was literally losing my mind. In moments of hysteria brought on by fighting kids, dirty diapers, and yes even rectal medicine, I wondered if I’d made the right decisions in my life. But even at my lowest of lows, I always knew that my work as a mom would be the greatest work of my life. I knew, because of the parenting I had missed out on, that no matter how hard the work was, it was bigger than me. And knowing that has brought me the peace I need to be the best mom possible.
But what if you are at a low point in a job that isn’t bigger than you? What if you’re selling a product you don’t believe in, to people you hate faking nice for, just so you get a paycheck at the end of the week? The burn out is inevitable without the reassurance of the purpose behind your struggles in that job.
Make a difference doing something that makes a difference
It’s important to make a difference in EVERYTHING you do, even if the thing has low significance. But, we should optimize our time spent on things that do make a difference.
I’ll use an example from one of my very first jobs at a doughnut store. In that job, I was able to make a difference for each and every person who walked through the door. I was able to give the best customer service possible and maybe put a smile on someone’s face who was having a tough day. But, at the end of the day, I was only selling doughnuts. Now, I bring that same philosophy to my network marketing business, providing my clients exceptional service and kindness. And because I’m now in an industry making a difference, my effort causes a chain reaction of growth, inspiration, and success.
Make a difference with people who make a difference
One of my favorite quotes belongs to Jim Rohn. He says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you hang out with people who clock in 40 hours a week to make ends meet, you will shortly find yourself doing the same. If you hang out with people who won’t stop grinding until they find their desired result, because they are that passionate about their work, you will find yourself working at the same level. First find the work that you feel is significant, and then find people who are on the same wave. The support you can provide one another when the work gets tough is invaluable.
Make a difference at a time when it makes a difference
There is a Greek concept called kairos. It’s a concept used in the study of rhetoric, which explores the most effective methods of persuasion. And don’t assume persuasion is a negative thing. Think of all the ways you use persuasion in your work: pitching new ideas to company executives, selling your service or product to a potential client, or seeking capital for your start-up idea. Kairos is a concept within rhetoric speaking to the exact or opportune moment in which to persuade your audience. So let’s say you are passionate about the environment. You’ve come up with a game changing idea on how to deliver zero waste cleaning products to the masses. This just happens to be a beautiful kairotic window of time in which consumers are beginning to care about the waste they create. Try selling zero waste laundry detergent 20 years ago and mom’s would be laughing their way to the Tide aisle. Now is a perfect time to make a difference with a zero waste consumer company. Put your effort into work that is timely, and see your efforts explode.
Self discipline alone will not get you there
You can be the most disciplined person on the planet, but it takes what I’ve outlined above to find true success through significant work. Set yourself up for success by working on the right things, with the right people, at the right time. And ask yourself now, where are you finding your significance?
I would love to hear from you!