…there are people who try to look as if they are doing a good and thorough job, and then there are the people who actually damn well do it, for its own sake.” ~ John D. MacDonald
If you haven’t figured it out by now from wandering around my website, I used to work in the Engineering and Construction industry. One time years ago, I was asked to come in on a weekend to help prepare for a Monday morning proposal presentation to a client. It needed to get done for preliminary review by the executive team.
I worked all day to prepare the presentation my boss needed to deliver. Late that night, after the dry run with the executive team was complete, my boss called me at home. His voice was a bit tentative, which was unusual for him.
“You’re never going to believe what happened,” he said. “The Project Manager wanted to show things in a different order and so he cut your work into pieces. Can you come in tomorrow and do it over?”
I really couldn’t believe my ears. Seriously? My hard day’s work had been lost to a pair of scissors?
I wasn’t happy about having to work on a Sunday to re-do the whole thing. But sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.
I didn’t want to let my boss down. With an inward heavy sigh, I agreed to go in.
The worst part of that Sunday was that there was no air conditioning available. Not only was it tedious work, but it was miserable spending the entire day in that hot, stuffy building. But finally after a very long day, I finished my task for the second time.
It’s worth noting – I wasn’t the only one working that day. The whole team was there finishing up last minute revisions required to prepare for the proposal meeting with the client on Monday.
Monday came and went. It was quiet since the managers and executive team were at the client’s office presenting the proposal.
Believe me, this was not the only weekend I worked long hours to meet a deadline. Here’s why I remember this particular weekend to this day.
Tuesday, my boss called me into his office. He not only thanked me for coming in and working both days on the weekend, he told me he appreciated that I did it without complaining.
He said everyone on the team knew that my first day’s work had been destroyed. They figured I’d be upset and angry. He said that by not complaining and just doing the job I had to do, the rest of the team stopped complaining about doing their work.
I was taken aback by his acknowledgement of my efforts. Making an impact was the furthest thing from my mind. I just knew that regardless of the circumstances, my job was to show up and do what needed to be done.
Amazing things happen when you show up and just do what ya gotta do. It doesn’t matter if you want to or not. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are aware of the impact. It doesn’t even matter if you know exactly what to do or how to do it.
What matters is that you show up to do what ya gotta do with integrity. Integrity comes from knowing your own big “why” for doing what ya gotta do. My big why was to travel, to buy my own place, and to be financially independent.
Was I thinking about that “why” when I showed up to do the work? Of course not. But that “why” was in the driver’s seat of the career choices I made for a lot of years.
What’s your Big Why? Whatever it is, there is a TO BE in front of it. And when you get clarity about that, your whole life gets clean, simple and clear.
You may have been told that one way to get to your big why is to write down what you love. If you stop there, you may miss identifying your big why.
Take it a step further and look for a theme or themes. What is the underlying experience or feeling you get when you think about what you love? What’s compelling about that for you?
Then put a “to be…” in front of that theme. When you do, you’ll be one step closer to tuning in to the thing that will have you show up to do what ya gotta do.
Have you identified your Big Why? Share in the comments how you identified it. If you are struggling to find your Big Why, consider taking a Personal Insights Profile to help get you closer. Contact me for details.