What's your body of work?
Anyone who’s ever spent time learning about investing will know the term passive income. Passive income is when you have investments that provide you income that you don’t have to work for. The goal for most investors is to get to the point where their passive income provides them with enough income to stop working and retire. Oh the dream, to not worry about money ever again and have the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want, imagine what you would do with your time if you got to this place!
Sometimes you meet that person, they have worked hard towards achieving this life and now have the luxury of retiring and living off their passive income at an early age. From my experience these people spend a year or two ticking off all the things they dreamt about before they got to this place while they were still working. They might pick up a new hobby, travel, spend more time with family and friends or start a big project that they have always wanted to complete. While this seems like the ultimate life for them, for some reason a lot of these people end up going back into the working world by finding a job or start a new business. How could someone who had the ultimate life want to go back to work?
Their decision to return to work may be because they have too much free time or they find it boring when all of their friends are working, but one of the key reasons these people choose to go back to work is because they realise they get a lot of value from the work they do. They feel they can make a difference in the world with their work and because they are no longer concerned about work providing an income they are more concerned about creating work that they are proud of.
If you consider the amount of time you spend working, it’s a massive time investment and for most people their job provides security, a lifestyle that they like and the essential savings they will require for the future. While all of these things are important your work can also provide you with so much more. When you are in a job that interests you, that stretches you, allows you to express yourself in ways that are important to you and makes you solve problems in ways that give you esteem - this is incredibly valuable.
Years ago I was talking to a guy in his nineties who impressed me with his life, I sat with him for hours as he shared his many amazing stories, his life was one that was well-lived. I was inspired, so much so that I wanted to learn from his wisdom and I asked him what he thought was important to having a great life. The first thing he said was ‘spend your time creating a body of work that you are proud of so when you get to my age you’ll look back and see that the time you spent on this earth added value to it.’.
For the majority of us in the working world we spend the majority of our lives working. What do you say to people when they ask about your job? Are you proud of what you do? Do you get lost in describing why it’s so great or do you find yourself saying things like ‘it pays the bills’. If you are in a place right now where you are slightly despondent about your job maybe it’s time you start developing yourself towards a new path where your work gives you esteem, satisfaction and allows you to grow yourself in ways that are healthy for you. It might be a sidestep in your current role which leads you towards this place, or a complete change in career path, remember someone is out there doing the thing that you would love to be doing, why can’t that be you?
My conversation with the wise old wise man motivated me to create a body of work that I’m proud of, one that I will look back on in the last part of my life and feel I’ve done good work during my time on this planet. If you are dissatisfied with where you are now in your work, perhaps it is time to start thinking about other possibilities and identifying the direction you want to head in, when you are in the twilight years of your life looking back over your time, what would your body of work be?
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