Over the past few days, as I’ve watched my dear friend Josh Tobias deftly help guide my family through the rites of mourning, I’ve reflected on the notion of noble work.
Some of us work for a living. Some of us work because we have to. And the lucky few of us do work that we love.
How many of us do noble work? Work that helps people, that makes the world a better place, that inspires us and guides us in our own journeys?
On many days, I can honestly say that I do noble work. The clients I choose and the things I do to help them grow their dreams and their revenues and their reach are all noble. Maybe not so much as helping a family through mourning the loss of a loved one or caring for a body on its journey to final rest. But there are noble moments in every day that I work.
Some if it comes from doing public relations for meaningful non-profits that truly have a mission to help make the world better. And some of it comes from working with entrepreneurs who truly are guided by a vision to lead others to meaning.
And some of the nobility in the work that I do comes from caring deeply about the people around me, the stories that need telling, the relationships that need building.
But there are days – sometimes even weeks – when it doesn’t feel so noble. That the work I do feels like a machine spinning and spinning with no vision or purpose or higher aspirations whatsoever.
On those days, I dream about vacations and giving it all up and spending more time baking cookies with my kids. I whine and moan in my head about why I do what I do and wonder if I’d be better off in another position.
Except every kind of work has its tedious moments. And its drudgery. And its challenges.
Isn’t that the path of life anyway?
When I broached this notion of noble work with my friend Josh at the shiva house yesterday, he scoffed at my comment that his work is truly noble but mine? Not so much.
Anything we do with passion and vigor could be defined as noble work. Anything we feel deeply about, any time we truly care to help another, to help them make the journey from here to there, from wonderment to satisfaction, from stasis to growth, it’s noble.
Perhaps it’s the wisdom in simply walking the path and pouring one’s heart into the work itself that makes it noble?
My hope and wish is that each and every one of us find the path that takes us toward nobility. That we can each do work that raises our hope and aligns with our dreams and comes from the depths of our hearts.