“Sometimes, saving the next generation of someone close to us can give us meaning and fulfillment in what we do.”
What did your mom / dad always need and not get enough of?
Some people find meaning and fulfillment in what they do by tying it to someone important in their life… and saving others like him or her from a similar fate. Often this person is mom or dad (or mom AND dad), but it doesn’t have to be. It could be a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, grandparent, etc… The point is to think about someone important to you in your life and give the next generation of him or her what that person close to you always needed and never got. Maybe that takes the form of saving others from the same tragic fate or perhaps it is helping others to realize a particular version of unlocked potential. For example, maybe mom could have been a gifted artist, but wasn’t given the encouragement, education and opportunities that she needed. So you commit your life to creating education opportunities for aspiring young women like mom. Or dad could have been a successful entrepreneur but no one would ever give dad a loan. You commit your life to providing loan products to people like dad. Let’s take a deeper look at how answering “Question #2” can lead to fulfilling work. Susan’s story is a perfect example.
Susan grew up in rural Oklahoma. Her dad owned a truck stop – “Slim’s Truck Stop.” Every day Susan and her siblings worked at their dad’s truck stop alongside their parents. Susan said the time working at the truck stop were some of her best memories growing up. She became extremely close with her family and she learned the value of serving others during this time. This routine went on for many years until one day her dad was unloading one of the Monday-morning deliveries and threw out his back lifting a heavy crate. The injury was more serious than initially thought and he wasn’t able to work for months. The business suffered without his guidance and day-to-day presence. To make matters worse, he didn’t have any form of insurance for himself or for the business, so when he went down, the business followed. “Slim’s Truck Stop” closed a year later and her parents were left penniless.
Susan didn’t want any other entrepreneur or his or her family to suffer the same fate as her parents. As a result, she has dedicated her life to working with small business owners to make sure they have the proper insurance to take care of themselves and their families if anything unexpected should ever occur. Susan is an insurance sales person, but that’s not how she sees it. She says she protects families and small businesses from suffering the same fate as her parents. Susan is the best in her field because, as one of her clients puts it, “it isn’t just a job for Susan… it’s a calling. She speaks with such passion and conviction that we know she has our best interests in mind. I couldn’t picture her doing anything else.”
Now onto you. Do you have that same kind of conviction, passion and fulfillment in what you do? If not, consider answering “Question #2” to find the answer. Grab a scratch piece of paper and follow these steps:
- Identify someone who had a significant impact on you growing up (whether for better or for worse)
- What did he or she always need and never get? What difference would that have made for him or her… and for you if they had gotten that need met?
- What would it look like if you saved the next generation of him or her by meeting that need?
- Jot down jobs or services that meet that need and see what you come up with. Don’t let rationality or fear limit your thinking. Come up with as many possibilities as you can.
Saving others from the same fate as those close to us can be extremely meaningful and can lead us to fulfilling work. So, get thinking… and as always, get moving!