I believe if you’re reading this you were meant to find it now, and I hope it will give you the encouragement you need to do what you know you need to do.
At the end of our holiday in Mablethorpe me and my husband stood on the beach in warm Autumn sunshine, looking wistfully at the sea and saying goodbye to it until next time. We both had that end of holiday feeling; it had been a great few days where we’d spent most of our time on the beach, when we weren’t spending our change in the arcades or having coffee in cake in cosy cafes. It had been perfect, I was very grateful for it and now it was time to go back to reality.
It was then that Colin said something that inspired me to turn homewards: “We have to go, we have important work to do and we can’t do that on holiday”. With those words I gained a new way to frame things: Not as “The end of the holiday” but as “The start of work it’s important to do”.
I hadn’t thought of my work in that way. I valued it, I wanted to do it, but somehow seeing in that fresh light made me eager to get back to a post-holiday fresh start. Well OK, not so eager that I wouldn’t have stayed on that beach if I could, but certainly motivated, and that’s what I want to share with you.
Why your work matters
What are you working on, or what do you want to work on? A paid job, or your own business perhaps; a creative project, something you want to make, build or renovate; caring for someone or raising children; working on your own health and healing. We all have some sort of work to do and it all matters, but when you do it every day it feels humdrum and unimportant.
After a break from it it’s hard to return because it seems so boring and difficult. It’s like you’ve taken off a heavy backpack for a while and now you have to put it back on again and trudge onwards. But what if you really valued the contents of that backpack? It wouldn’t feel any lighter but you’d be more willing to get stronger so you could carry it further and you’d feel more determined to keep moving forward.
It’s all too easy to devalue what you do. Most people are modest about their abilities so we downplay the impact we’re making or want to make. We hear the voice of self-doubt asking if what we’re doing even matters anyway, and if we’re really capable of doing it. That voice is there to keep you small and tucked away from risk, but that keeps you stuck in one place and unable to take responsibility for your actions and ownership of your decisions.
That’s a shame, because what you do matters. You’re capable of investing your time, energy and intelligence into the collective forward development of the world. Our world is made up of individuals; when you hold yourself back and see your contribution as unimportant, or squander yourself on work that really is a waste of who you are, you withdraw that investment and keep it hidden and useless.
Don’t hide from your value
Not only do you deserve the feeling of being alive that comes from working on something that’s important to you, we – The World! – deserve to benefit from you coming alive. Imagine if your favourite author had never written a book, your favourite artist had never painted or your favourite singer had never shared their voice. What if the owner of a cafe, shop or restaurant you love had never opened it? Or if a doctor, counsellor, teacher or other professional who’s helped you never took up that career?
Does what you do every day matter to you?
Why is it important that you put in the ongoing effort to do it?
If it doesn’t matter to you, what might you value as important instead?
Don’t let self-doubt take the reins here, because I bet as you ask yourself these questions it’s trying it’s best to! Remember, it wants to keep you small, hidden and safe, but you have important work to do, even if you don’t know what it is yet.
When you recognise that your contribution is important it isn’t big headed or arrogant, it’s honest and motivating. If you value the difference you want to make you inspire yourself to do it, and you inspire others through your actions. You may feel that what you have to say isn’t worth sharing, but we all have a unique voice and no voice is more important or worthy of being heard than any other. We all all have important work to do, and that includes you.