February 3, 2014

What Do You Do?

Few questions strike as much dread into the hearts of the unemployed, underemployed, half-hearted SAHMs, and unpublished writers.

I read a book by Brene Brown the other day, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION. In one chapter she talks about finding meaningful work. My takeaway was that we get to define ourselves by the work we do that makes us happiest and most alive, not necessarily the work that pays us the most or that we spend 40 hours a week doing.

So, for example, the author went to a conference and was excited to meet a lady she'd bought some handmade earrings from. At the conference she asked her, "How long have you been a jeweler?" The lady blushed and said, "I'm a CPA. I'm not a real jeweler." Brene Brown thought, I'm wearing your earrings right now, not your abacus. But because the CPA made earrings for fun and not a paycheck she could live on, she did not consider herself a "real" jeweler.

Who says money gets to define what you are? Only you, if that's what you choose.

After the jeweler story, Brene Brown quotes Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I've heard this quote before and always thought it was too warm and fuzzy to be applicable in real life. Brene Brown's book helped me realize Thurman's quote doesn't have to apply to a 40-hr-a-week job. It can apply to the nooks and crannies of our lives where we find our greatest happiness.

So what do YOU do?