Be an “Enabler”

You already are… you just don’t realize it

The core of my job as a web designer/developer is to create things on the web for people who can’t create those things themselves. I’ve recently begun to think of myself as an “Enabler”, which has radically changed my perspective on what I do and what it means to do really ANY job.

This shift from thinking of myself as “making things” to “enabling people” has many different side affects. It gives what I do a different form of meaning. I am not simply puting code and pixels on a page for the world to see… I am creating an environment that allows other people the ability to share their thoughts ideas or projects with the world.

I have begun to think that this approach to my job might actually be highly universal to other people in other careers… Some of these careers don’t ultimately have a direct connection, but a connection CAN be made in one form or another.

A car salesman doesn’t build the car that gets a driver from point a to point b, but they DO enable the transaction. Along the way, a construction worker has built the road that you are driving on, enabling you to drive your car, police officers are enabling a safe atmosphere and the radio DJ is enabling you to be entertained along the way.

This thinking has brought me back to a TED talk by Simon Sinek about “starting with why”. It is the basic thought of having a meaningful purpose to your work rather than just having “work”. If you already believe that your job is enabling someone to do something, you already have your “why”.

I think it is important to think about this in our careers. It is easy to lose track of this thought process and to get bogged down by the negativity, but ultimately be thinking about the people you are enabling by doing your job. That’s what really matters anyways.