A Spoonful of Purpose
A Spoonful of Purpose
Today someone complained they were fed up with the quality of the work they had to do – too much detail. I wondered why my experience was so different, because what I do everyday doesn’t seem that exciting from the outside- after all, it’s emails. Research. Spreadsheets. Banal code changes. Proofreading. PowerPoints and Keynotes and operating plans. I do deadlines and an incredible amount of BS in the context of the big strategy and marketing work. It sounds so freaking boring, doesn’t it? It’s not rock and roll, right?
But fundamentally, we don’t see ourselves as building databases and making business development calls. What are we doing here everyday?
- helping to relieve the suffering of people in chronic pain (Omneuron)
- helping to improve communication between teams and make the experience of work more effective and fun (15Five)
- working to reduce violence in the world (Insight-Out)
- accelerating the spread of a new kind of capitalism (Conscious Capitalism, WPW)
- injecting rational thought and information into the understanding of the human experience, to bring more happiness (Being Human)
- helping people deliver the right kind of drugs at the right time to improve efficacy (Spiral Genetics)
- bringing STEM education to girls worldwide (emersion)
We tell stories. Allow for people to feel something new. Get an audacious message out. Create positive change. Create wonder, connection and delight. We help entrepreneurs live their dreams. We create more beauty, peace, love and connection in the world.
That’s why we show up and make the donuts. Not because we love our Macs. Or the strain across the midback. Or payroll or collections. But because we love this world so much and see so much possibility.
That old “are you a bricklayer or cathedral builder” story – this choice seems to be the most elemental ingredient in happiness.
Here’s the story again, if you’ve forgotten it. Once upon a time, there were three bricklayers. When asked, “What are you doing?” the first bricklayer replied: “I’m laying bricks.” The second bricklayer was asked the same question. He answered: “I’m putting up a wall.” The third bricklayer, when asked the question “What are you doing?” responded, with pride in his voice: “I’m building a cathedral.”
So no matter what you’re doing, find your higher purpose, even in the detail work. Connect the dots. It all gets easy after that. The work becomes play.
To fulfilled and awake workplaces -
“Cathedral Builders” by Welsh poet John Ormand
They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,
with winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
inhabited the sky with hammers,
took up God’s house to meet him,
and came down to their suppers and small beer,
every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
quarreled and cuffed the children,
lied, spat, sang, were happy, or unhappy,
and every day took to the ladders again,
impeded the rights of way of another summer’s swallows,
grew greyer, shakier,
became less inclined to fix a neighbor’s roof of a fine evening,
saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
somehow escaped the plague,
decided it was time to give it up,
to leave the spire to others,
stood in the crowd, well back from the vestments at the consecration,
envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
cocked a squint eye aloft,
and said, “I bloody did that.”