Last Friday, I had the privilege of sharing these insights at the Workmatters Leadercast event in Northwest Arkansas. (If you were there, this will serve as a powerful reminder of the thoughts that were shared).
Can I be real with you about your work for a few minutes?
Regardless of how much you love your work, or dislike your work, or if you are somewhere in between, the reality is that work is hard!
Let me paint a powerful picture of the reality of work: you will spend half of your life working! Let me give that some perspective. If you work for 45 years (8-5 job), you will invest approximately 11,500 days of your life working!
So, with that reality noted, you now face one of the most important decisions of your life …
What is the purpose of that half of your life going to be?
In my view, you basically have two choices:
- Let the world define your purpose for work. Or …
- Choose to follow God’s purpose for your work.
And if you don’t take ownership of that choice, the world will take ownership of it for you!
When you don’t have a bigger vision for why you work, you let the world define the purpose of your work by default. Unfortunately, I know exactly what this looks like because, for the first 20 years of my career, I chased the world’s definition of purpose for my work.
When I reflect on that time in my life, I have to ask myself some painful questions:
- What was my real influence with my coworkers, bosses and customers?
- Did I develop relationships with the people I spent half of my life with, or was it just transactional?
- Did I honor God with my work, or was I just doing the work?
- Was my identity in my work, or in Christ?
Looking back, I deeply regret how different those 20 years could have been if I would have had a different vision for my work!
Before leading Workmatters, I worked at J.B. Hunt Transport and I began to watch a few leaders there. There was something different about them.
- They treated people differently.
- They had fun.
- Their language was thoughtful.
- They didn’t sacrifice their integrity in order to win over a customer.
- They seemed to be present with their kids and spouses.
- They seemed to have a measure of joy in their work.
- They were also fierce competitors who were serious about their work. Excellence was important to them.
As I watched them, I began asking myself what made them different. It was in those years that I began to discover what Option 2 really was …
Discovering God’s purpose for my work!
It introduced me to the idea of having a much bigger vision for my work — one that made work meaningful. And when work is meaningful, it can transform your life!
That’s why Workmatters exists — to help you discover God’s purpose for your work. You are not alone in this journey, and you shouldn’t have to do this alone.
So I leave you with this — Do you want a bigger vision for the half of your adult life you will spend working? Then remember, your work matters to God!