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By David Harder on August, 17, 2010

Everyone has a unique path, unique work and the opportunity to make a difference

Dear Friends,

At Inspired Work, our mission is to help as many people as possible love their work.

All of our client companies want employees who are engaged with their work. 

People seek us out because they want to wake up in the morning and think, “I can’t wait to be there.”

Could the highest form of engagement be a love affair?

There is a journey that all of us take to get to that point with two forms of transportation. The first is one where we grow up in families that tell us, “All we want you to do  is something that you love and to do that successfully.”  In this version, we probably had families and schools that taught us the life skills necessary to support a love affair with our work coupled with financial success. Our role models instilled on us that it is O.K. to take risks, get frightened, make mistakes and ask for help. Our mentors showed us that cynicism and contempt are the two greatest obstacles to growth.

How many of us grew up in families like this? Most of us didn’t. So, the second choice takes a very real effort to recognize that we can change. We set aside our cynicism and pursue higher consciousness. The end result doesn’t need to fit other people’s pictures. Years ago, I met a brain injury specialist at UCLA Medical Center. He was passionate about his work and showed me a video of clients who had gone through the life changing event of losing a portion of one’s mental capacity. The most moving case was the attorney, a high-powered litigator who had been in a terrible car accident. When we emerged from the coma, a doctor told her she would never work again. After a year in rehabilitation, she got a new job as a cashier at Universal Studios. In the filmed interview someone asked how she felt about her work. I braced myself for all the had been lost. Instead, she responded with complete joy, “I  love my job. I get to meet interesting people all day and giving out the right change is so important to me.” Her face was filled with gratitude and happiness. Apparently she had loved being an attorney and loved being a cashier. I asked the medical specialist, “Who taught her to have so much gratitude.” He said, “I don’t really know. She was like that when she realized she could still speak.”

I often refer back to an interview that was given for “The Truth About Work” from Michael Beckwith, founder of Agape and a significant contributor to The Oprah Winfrey Show. I asked Michael, “How do you know someone is on their right path?” His response was immediate. He said, “You simply can’t tell if they are playing or working.”

Cynicism and contempt aside, what would it look like if you woke up and smiled about work? How could you feel especially grateful for the day you are about to enter? What would happen if most of your colleagues, family and friends were having a love affair with their work? If you are moved at all by these questions, we suggest that you take a moment and write out descriptive answers because life is good.