Making a living is not the same thing as making a life — Maya Angelou
Why do I work? A question we probably do not ask of ourselves nearly enough. Do I work to work? Do I work because I have to? Do I work because I’m expected to?
When we don’t know why we work, we don’t know how to work.
When we don’t know why we work, we end up working too much, too hard, and for all the wrong reasons. That’s how we end up burned out and fed up. When we don’t know why we work, the work becomes the goal. The work becomes the end instead of the means.
When we don’t know why we work, we end up the king of an empty castle, our throne atop a mountain of unfulfilled dreams.
But as Maya Angelou said in her unmistakable voice:
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
If you are that caged bird take heart, there is a song yet within you. Your dreams are not over. If you are burned out or fed up take heart. Your song is not silenced.
Start at the beginning. Ask yourself that question. Why do I work?
Get the target in mind, and the journey becomes clear.