What's Sucking the Joy Out of Your Work?Oct 26, 2023
Ever get halfway through a week and think, "WHAT AM I DOING? I'm so busy I can't even keep track of my work...let alone enjoy it!"
If so, you're not alone. The pace of our world and the demands on our modern lives are at an all-time high, and the only way out is an intentional REVOLT and return to what got you excited in the first place: Your calling.
Calling is a soul-deep excitement, driven by an awareness that your life was designed by God to make a difference. Calling draws on your God-given strengths and lines them up with God-ordained opportunities in a way that brings a smile to your face even in the midst of hard work.
So why do we get dragged outside of our sweet spot into the land of dreary days?
That's the opposite of calling. It's other people's priorities. It's comparison. It's guilt. It's pressure. It's an old season or past goals. It's being driven by ego instead of drawn by something more enduring.
I find it interesting that some of history's best leaders managed to make their mark without losing their souls - or their joy. For instance, John Wesley said,
"I am never in a hurry, because I never undertake more work than I can go through with perfect calmness of spirit."
By contrast, I sometimes feel like I never take on less work than will send me into a full-on frenzy. And that is what sucks the joy out of our work. We are doing too much of too many things. And I have to wonder, what does God think of my calendar?
Recently when I read Cal Newport's book, Deep Work, I felt a longing and a nudge to change the way I work so that I could have a stronger connection to my calling. And as I've been listening to the book 10x is Easier than 2x by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, I'm realizing that I don't need to work more to feel more joy. In fact, for me working more would be destructive. Instead, I need to work more deeply. I need to do more of less. Which for me, as a pastor, coach and business owner, requires slimming down what is on my plate so I can do my work with mastery in mind, and with "perfect calmness of spirit." That means I have to dump, delegate and defer many of the things that have been on my plate before I add more to it. And to be honest, this is where I struggle. But I can confidently say that it's changing for the better.
I imagine you're not so different. I'm sure you'd love to have more joy, more purpose, and more calmness of spirit in your work. But how? Here are a few simple steps to consider for moving forward...
1. Audit your activity. Look over your work tasks, appointments, projects and goals for the past couple months and evaluate them based on what brings joy and what brings results. Then ask yourself 3 questions: What do I want to continue? What do I want to stop? What do I want to start?
2. Ask a loved one to review your audit and your answers to the 3 questions. Do they see what you see? If so, that's confirmation. If not, keep working until you have an accurate view of yourself and your work.
3. Ask permission where you need to (i.e. from your boss), but start making the move to doing more of less - for your sake, and the sake of the world you were called to impact.
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