This (short) story was originally published on Facebook, Nov 25th 2016.
It’s thanksgiving in the US. Yet another year vanishes in front of our eyes. Where did it go? How did it pass by so fast? For lots of people it has been a challenging year… full of difficult choices, struggles and trades-off. For me too. Even tho it has been at the same time the most rewarding year of my life, ever. I surprise myself thinking it not for the first time, the last couple years have been like this as well. Then I wonder why I’m even surprised about it, it’s kinda like I wasn’t expecting it to be, kinda like I didn’t thought I deserved it.
If there’s something I learned this year, is the following. Love the work. Love the work, love the work, love the work. It really is the only way to go through the struggles and the challenges and the hard choices while being happy of doing it. If you love the work, everything else will fall into place. You still won’t achieve everything you wanted to, not yet, not now, but it will be ok regardless. And the progress will be good enough anyway, the learnings that come with the journey too.
If you love the work, it will still be exhausting and it will still be long hours, but you will improve yourself in the process, and you’ll be able to bring that realization into your personal relationships as well. With your friends, family and loved ones. Because, yes: the work is personal. Don’t believe those who say it’s not. It is. It’s very much likely your most important contribution to this world, however small. People won’t know you, but they’ll know your work. At first, I didn’t understand how much power and grace there’s in that.
And there’s one thing which I realized just recently. Lots of people will do things to be recognized by others, to be praised, to receive a pat in the back from someone saying “good job”. The more public, the better. But that’s not the real reward, not for me at least. The real reward is to be able to do even harder work, to be put in front of even more challenging choices, to go through even more difficult struggles. To be crushed again tomorrow, harder than yesterday, and to get back once again, just because you love the work.
You don’t get to do it if you didn’t do good work. And you don’t get to do seriously good work if you don’t love the work. That’s the reward. Also key: if you love the work and want to do good work today to be able to do harder work tomorrow, you’ll need to take care of yourself and of your loved ones and of your team. Because nobody goes through this alone, and simple acts of kindness to each other make all the difference in the world. They really do.
So, while this year winds down, if I had to choose one thing I’m grateful for, this is it. I’m grateful to have realized this, and to be put in front of harder choices and more complicated challenges. Because it’s working on the things we see could be improved by our contribution, but are not there just yet, that pushes things forward. And us together with them, and our loved ones together with us. So take a moment to hug somebody new today; not because they need it, but because you do.
Happy thanksgiving everybody.