I recently wrote a post titled ‘My Goals for the Summer of 2016’, where I explored the importance of taking time off after intensive periods of work, stress or completion of a large undertaking. Further contemplation got me thinking about the different phases of work I’ve experienced in my life.
Many have reflected on the idea that one’s work is divided into one of the three possible categories:
Job: Something you do from 9-5 to pay the bills.
Career: Working a desirable job to gain external success, pay raises, titles and social stature.
Calling: How you spend your time is integral to your happiness and fulfillment. Your career is a full expression of your identity and you don’t measure success by hours or dollars, but by impact.
I’ve worked hard and built a lot in the name of merely doing more, but it’s come with a price. Aside from the inevitable sense of burnout, my approach toward work has been diminished from a calling to a career. And at times, when I forced myself to grind in the name of expectation, even a job.
The best part about my current sabbatical period is that I’ve only spent my time on activities that I feel are a true calling. After all, when you don’t have to work, why would you do anything else?
Once you’ve bit the apple, you can’t go back.
I no longer wish for this to be a mere phase of my life or something I do out of necessity once every 7 years, when I’ve pushed myself to the limit. Rather I’m interested in cultivating a daily reminder I could use for accountability to measure if I am living out my calling or merely working to further my career. Let’s be honest: life’s too short to do anything else.
Here’s what I found works well for me. And the best part is that it’s so simple. I ask myself this one question before I go to bed: ‘Am I excited about getting up tomorrow?’
If I can only sleep 5 hours because I didn’t get to bed in time and still want to get up early because I’m inspired by the activity I’m doing, then I know I’m living it!
If not, it’s time to check myself.
When I look back to the periods in my life where my work felt like a career or job, I never cared about being up early. I didn’t feel overly energized about my days. But we don’t need to play defense and wait for apathy or ambivalence to make a change. Instead we should be aggressive and strive for excitement.
Since I decided to change my approach this summer and focus my energy on writing, relaxing, being spontaneous and present, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in my excitement. I can’t wait to get up in the morning, inspired by who I’m going to meet and what new experiences are going to come my way.
It’s exciting to be excited. Find something you can’t wait to get up for, and the rest will work itself out.
How do you feel about getting up in the morning? How would you describe your life’s work? Share your thoughts in a comment below.