Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Here Lies a ...

I have been very involved in men's work and in work itself for many years. That is, I do lectures, workshops and counsel individuals on job satisfaction issues. I have referred before in these pages to how unhappy most people are in their jobs (I will be participating in a conference for senior citizen around this issue and how it effects attitudes in retirement...but I digress).

Often, folks are mismatched with their work because they have no sense of mission or purpose as to what their life is about. That is, they haven't defined themselves, don't know themselves or haven't tuned in to their inner calling. One exercise I will have someone struggling with this issue do is to ask them to complete the above line for their tomb stone. In essence, I ask them to define themselves using only one or two words. I tell them that what they choose to write will be how the world remembers them.

When I did this for myself (a long time ago), I first found the task to be overwhelming. After all, I took pride in my work in medicine, photography, judo, SCUBA, ham radio, writing, marathon running and music (to name a few). How, I wondered, could I possibly choose one of them? I didn't want to let the others go. After all, I was all of those things...wan't I?

It took some hard work and a whole lot of pondering before I realized that I was, in fact, none of those things. They were just things I did. Having sorted that out, I asked myself what is the single soul-issue common to everything I do. Everything. What common thread most frequently runs through those times when I am in the so-called flow experience? What is common to most of my rewarding experiences? What about all of those things do I do that leaves me feeling satisfied and fulfilled? What is my passion? (and, what people do I hold in high esteem and value in my life...along with family and friends?)

At first I thought it was just the satisfaction of being able to do such a variety of things. And, Lord knows, I love doing them all. But, in the end, I concluded that that particular enjoyment was self serving and did not give back to the world. The answer to my question had to be bigger and, most importantly, be an expression of what I put into the Universe...not what I take out.

(Me with the men men I am mentoring through the Washington Alumni Scholarship Foundation)
So, should you be left with the responsibility of chisseling the final words onto my head stone, please write as follows:

Here lies a teacher.

Until then,
Paddle safe


derrick said...

here lies an unmitigated prat

Silbs said...

Is that a good or a bad thing?

derrick said...

LOL! all depends on the prat. :)