This past week I booked a hosting job in Palo Alto, California, a town right outside San Francisco. Simply put, I was ecstatic! The opportunity to get paid to do what I love is a rare occurrence in my life. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my side jobs that allow me to pursue my desired career, but I don't love them. I understand LOVE is a strong word to have for a job, but why can't we love our career? Life is mega short. I don't believe we were meant to spend 40 hours a week working for a company or at a job that makes us miserable.
I am the product of two parents that always put family first. My parents worked tirelessly to provide for our family, but they rarely put themselves first. My brother and I have had lengthy, sibling discussions about how we wish mom and dad had worked a job that made them happy when we were growing up. My memories of my parent's coming home from work are not good ones. My mom often complained her feet hurt, and my father liked to nag about the long commute he had to make. When I was a teenager, I begged dad to quit his work as a chemist and pursue his true dream - photography.
My dad had a long list of reasons why photography was not going to work for him. He said it cost too much to start up, there was only money in corporate work, he didn't have the latest camera on the market, he needed better lights, he didn't like networking and felt rude passing out business cards, and there wasn't enough money in it to provide for a family. Dad thought his decision not to pursue photography was a good, practical father decision, but I saw something else. I saw a man that did not believe in himself, and that was hard to see. Although my dad never pursued photography as a career, my insistent nagging that he change his droopy attitude about work stuck with him.
My dad realized complaining about work was not healthy. It started our conversations out in a negative tone, and made for dismal chats. So my dad decided to change his dialogue. He started talking about all the reasons he loved his job. He told me about DeDe, his 60-year-old, lovable African-American co-worker that made a big container of fried chicken, turnip greens, and black eyed peas to share at lunch time. He talked about Scott, his 40-year-old, co-worker with two kids the same age as my brother and I and what wonderful conversations they had about fatherhood. He shared his gratitude for Mike, his thoughtful boss who bought Panera Bread bagels and dark roast coffee to the office every Friday. When my father switched his perspective on his career, something magical happened. He began to enjoy going to work. When he started to enjoy his work, he came home in a better mood, which lead to more positive conversations between us, and rewarding memories. Till this day, the negative memories I have with my father are few and far between, but the good ones are endless.
When we change our perspective, our lives change too. With a positive mindset, the life we are living becomes one we want to be apart of and not escape from. This week I encourage you to take time to focus on the words you are expelling from your mouth. If you find yourself feeling lonely in your apartment, hating your job, or annoyed with the bills piling up in your mailbox, change your perspective. Take a moment to embrace your alone time by reading a book, give thanks to your job that allows you to sleep in a warm bed at night, and bless your bills for the service they are adding to your life.
Remember the power to change our lives lies within us, and all starts with a change in our mindset.