“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
The great English playwright wrote this sentence in a long letter to a friend about the allure of money and power versus the meaning of purposeful life work. You would think he was commenting about today’s media fascination with the rich and famous. But he wasn’t. He wrote it in 1905.
When I was a kid listening to the grown-ups talk about work, the word purpose was never part of the discussion. Work was a means to put food on the table and pay the mortgage or rent. Any extra money went towards an occasional backyard barbecue and a few beers on the weekend before going back to the grind of the work week.
My parents wanted me and my five siblings to get a college degree so that we could have an important career and earn enough money to live comfortably. When I finally graduated from college, I set out to do just that. I soon became a run-of-the-mill workaholic trying to bring home a good paycheck and make my family and friends proud.
I had never heard about the concept of working with a purpose until I participated in a year-long Fellows Program called the American Leadership Forum. The concept is simple: figure out what gets you up in the morning, find a way to make a living doing it, and give it all you’ve got. I gave these ideas some thought, but the reality of financial commitments and my thirst for success didn’t allow me to do much more than that.
The high-pressure career, and the prestige and perks that came with it drove me to work hard every day. Striving for personal success kept me busy until I had a health crisis that changed my life. Then, in an instant, it all came to a screeching halt. God sent a clear message. An all-consuming quest for personal achievement isn’t in His plan for me.
On a daily basis, I struggle to reconcile what I thought was the definition of success with what I’m destined to do. I still miss the hustle and bustle of working in executive management, not to mention the financial security. But my journey has led me to a deep understanding of passion and purpose.
I’ve come to realize that helping others along their journey and being with people I care about are my passions. I now work with purpose through sharing stories on East Side Eddie Report.com and mentoring others, and I live with purpose when I’m around those I love.
You can find joy in your life. Discover your passion. Work and live with purpose. You’ll be glad you did it.