Does your work fulfill you? Does it help others? Would it make a difference if you stopped doing it today? Would anyone notice?
If you’re a little bit like me, you ponder these questions and hope the answers fall in line with your personal goals. I’ve always focused on the meaning-of-it-all, striving to do well and do good at the same time.
This week I met Terry Grahl, founder and president of Enchanted Makeovers. This humble mother of four traded her for-profit interior design business for a not-for-profit endeavor which attempts to bring sunshine, light and hope to the disadvantaged by transforming their surroundings (shelters, orphanages, etc.). What a difference a wall mural and a new bed can make for an abused child who previously stared at cement slabs and slept on a falling-apart prison bed.
And the next question … does your work define you?
Last night, we gathered around my dining room table with friends to celebrate a little-known spring holiday called Shavuot. I brought out blintz souffle and baked ziti, salad and roasted cauliflower and leeks with tomatoes. An array of soul- and belly-filling foods to sustain us for more than a night. The conversations included work-talk but not until after we’d touched on our summer plans, school stories, funny items and fond memories.
I’m not going to preach about how a life is the sum total of its parts. But I will say that my life is not as I envisioned it when I was a dreamy teen and I am happier than I’d ever imagined possible. Success often carries no resemblance to the dictionary definition or societal expectation.