Are You Lazy or Just Off Track?
Okay, I know you’re not lazy. Recently I talked with a guy we’ll call Greg. He’s been at the same job for 23 years—a job he just fell into. While he’s done well financially in this banking industry job, he’s now about 60 lbs. overweight, has trouble staying awake at work, spends the weekends watching TV and has no idea what he’s passionate about. As he sees others who are full of energy and excitement, he suspects that he’s just “lazy.”
When I talk to someone who is always tired, has a hard time getting up in the morning, and eagerly anticipates the once a year two-week vacation, I don’t assume they are lazy. Rather, I start looking for how they are blocking their calling and purpose in life.
If you are going through the motions to be “responsible” by just doing a job, you will likely always be tired, looking forward to the end of the day, and eagerly waiting for Saturday.
If your energy is applied in doing what God created you to do, there will be an eagerness to start working each day and new energy will be bursting forth from deep within. You will have a reservoir of stamina that surprises even you. Living out of our vision is always more powerful than trying to conform to our circumstances.
In 1988 I went through a horrendous business disaster. Having made some unwise decisions I ended up deeply in debt—with no house, no car and owing everyone in town. If I had conformed to my circumstances I would have been overwhelmed by discouragement and defeat. But in that period of time I got a vision of how I could have made better decisions and how I had ignored what my heart was telling me in the time leading up to that “disaster.” In the depths of my hurt, shame and embarrassment I agreed to teach a Sunday School class on Career/Life Transitions. When I started sharing I had no idea it would become the source of my income. For three years I gave and gave, with no compensation, simply because it was a message I could not keep inside. We moved from a Sunday morning time to an uninterrupted two-hour time on Monday evenings to accommodate people coming from other churches. I researched how people came through low points in their careers, spent time with those who were struggling and developed the message that ultimately became 48 Days to the Work You Love.
When I realized I was spending 20-30 hours a week helping people through their own transitions I reluctantly considered opening the door for people to pay for my time and advice. Joanne encouraged me to see that my service was worthy of me allowing people to give me “certificates of appreciation” (what Rabbi Daniel Lapin calls dollar bills). We went to a MegaBook University conference with Mark Victor Hansen (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul), starting using the methods he showed for sharing my message, and in the next two years took in over $2 million from sales of a simple 3-ring binder version of 48 Days to the Work You Love.
My goal was not to make money. Money showed up because I was so passionate about the message. My approach was that I was going to serve in this way, even if I was never paid. I did it because it was right, and because my energy and passion for sharing made it impossible not to. In August of 2000 I sent out my first weekly newsletter—free to anyone who wanted it. Over 130,000 people have now registered for that newsletter. I didn’t have to manipulate, connive or go looking for an audience—I just needed to expand my message as my contribution for making the world a better place.
So, do you worry about being lazy? Do you wonder why your energy is so low? Are you fighting with your employer for a measly 4% raise this year? Do you scream Thank God It’s Friday and count the days till your next vacation? Maybe it’s time to check if you're working from circumstances, or from your vision.