Yesterday I talked about verbal gratitude, and continually finding reasons throughout the day to say thank you. Another way of expressing gratitude is in our work.
There are a lot of other areas of our lives in which we can show gratitude, but I’m choosing work, because it’s something that we all have in common. Whether your work is running a million dollar business or sweeping floors; algebra or organic chemistry; designing houses or cleaning hotel rooms; doing chores around the house or raising kids. We all are engaged in some kind of work. And inevitably there will be times for most of us when we don’t particularly enjoy our work. But enjoying and being grateful for it are two different things.
Far too many people in the world that would love to have the opportunity to work but do not. Some that are physically unable. Some that are mentally unable. There are some whose prior choices have left them unable. And others who are handicapped directly or indirectly by systems and social constructs around them. It doesn’t always seem the case, but we have a choice when we take up our work. At any given moment, we are free to walk away from it. Do we have bills? Sure we do. Do we have families to take care of? Sure we do. But if our work allows us to do those things (even if it doesn’t allow us much more), then we have cause for gratitude.
We are living in a time where people are losing their jobs (among other things) at no fault of their own. A time where education (and/or quality education) is not available to everyone. If we are blessed and fortunate enough to have work, or the opportunity to go to school and learn, we should be grateful. Having work, whatever it may be, and being able to work are both blessings. Even if our plan is only to stick it out until something better comes along, let’s appreciate the fact that we have the choice to do so. To quote Kathleen A. Sutton, “When you can’t have what you want, it’s time to start wanting what you have.”
And while being grateful for having and being able to work is important, it’s equally as important to put forth our best effort. Our work is important. It’s not only representative of us, but it is representative of everyone along the way that has helped us to position ourselves for that work – friends, family, teachers, coaches, mentors, advisers. And as such, we owe it to them to put forth our best effort. That is how we use our work to thank those people that have motivated us, inspired us, or sacrificed on our behalf. We don’t always have to be happy every moment of every day. But we owe it to ourselves and many others to exemplify our gratitude for the work that we do have.
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.”
Make it a GREAT weekend!