When new acquaintances learn I am a career coach, very often they launch right in to their worst work experience. Or how stupid their boss is. Or how irritating their chatty coworker is. Or how they live for weekends. Or how they really wish they had the guts to make a change.
It’s a similar reaction when new-to-me people learn I love animals and am involved in animal welfare. More often than not, they start sharing a story that never ends up well for the animal. I’ve learned to cut them off at the pass, more politely now than I probably once did, because while sharing may make them feel better, it leaves me with a permanent imprint of this particular animal’s despair.
In both the career and animal situations, rarely do new connections launch into something happy. Rarely, as in I’d estimate about 15 percent of people go the positive route on either topic. I can’t remember the last time someone I’ve just met tells me “I love what I do and I can’t wait for Monday to arrive” or “I love animals too and have the happiest story to share … ”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the sad story can be people’s go-to tale. For the storytellers, their experience is memorable; sharing it can elicit empathy and forge a closer connection between themselves and the listener; and it’s relatable because sadness is certainly part of life. And maybe, on some level, they realize that if there weren’t 1) people who needed career guidance or 2) animals who needed help, I’d A) have to find a new line of work I’m really passionate about and B) get to spend 24/7 playing with happy, healthy, free-from-harm puppies, pigs, cows, you name it.
Now while I do love what I do, admittedly B) sounds like uber-nirvana. But helping people find work they love and helping all kinds of animals are two of my biggest joy drivers. In fact, those two passions, along with my loved ones, friends, travel, yoga, humor, nature, culture and spirituality are what contribute to my ability to Love Monday – and love it Madly.
I call this blog and its related social media accounts Love Monday Madly, because to me, that’s what life is all about. It’s about working hard and contributing to the joy of others and to the betterment of our communities. It’s about approaching life with zest, a sparkle and optimism. It’s about finding a way to Love Monday Madly – as in loving our personal and professional lives fervently, wildly and intensely.
It’s about finding some way to make a positive difference in the world and to give it all we’ve got. It’s about finding as much balance as we can in the different areas of our life so we can feel well-rounded and complete. It’s about treating others – whether that be our friends, family, bosses, coworkers, dogs, cats and all animals, teachers, students, neighbors, strangers, and those who try to keep our communities safe, fair, clean and welcoming – with warmth and compassion and with as much care as we would like to be treated.
It’s about facing the start of a new week with a commitment to make it a great one, even when we may be in a period of low energy or facing some personal loss. Yes, sadness is part of life, and it’s easy to get caught up in it. As Beatle George Harrison once said: “Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you … and what is more, that is not what we’re here for.”
When we focus on approaching life with intent, kindness, thoughtfulness, humor and a bit of whimsy, more things tend to fall into place. Work doesn’t become the tremendous maker or breaker of our joy because our life has more meaningful intricacies than that.
If we love what we do, fantastic, that should be our goal – but not at the cost of having no personal life or being unkind or disruptive to others. If we don’t love what we do but we love other aspects of our life, we have a much better chance of finding work we love because we’re entering the game with an overall much happier mindset.
I encourage the students I get to teach, the clients I am fortunate to work with and the audiences I’m able to reach to look at their careers as one aspect of their whole life’s package: it’s the balance and combination of all the ingredients that will determine how much they love life and work.
My fondness for career coaching is significant not just because it’s so satisfying to see others discover and thrive in work they love but because it allows me to spend more time enjoying the other aspects of my life.
Bottom line: With intention and effort, we can create work we look forward to and a life we love and approach with fervor. We can Love Monday Madly.