Value, Purpose, Work: Lessons learned in the Workplace & on the 405.

A few days ago I was listening to a speech about Genius that my mentor Ruben gave at Creative Mornings ATX while I was sitting in traffic on the 405. (If you aren’t familiar with Los Angeles Geography it is literally the most terrible freeway ever. You can spend up to 3 hours on it just to go 20 miles)

While the audio played through the speakers of my car, I scribbled notes down on my iPad…

I wrote this ^ note down when my mentor mentioned that we are all searching for our purpose.

People say that a lot.
I say that a lot.

But what if we don’t HAVE to search?

What if we found our purpose in just BEING?
What if the answer is to just BE? I mean you are a BEING. It’s what you are – what you were created to be.

What if the secret to everything we were supposed to be and supposed to do was found in just being authentically?

Weird to think about right?
It goes against the notion that we have to “make something of oursevles” and “prove our worth”

It makes us almost uncomfortable to think that nothing we DO can make us more or less than who we are and THAT is our purpose. To be our beings. 

That’s what Jesus said to us.
“Nope you don’t have to do anything – you’re already loved.”
We forget that our BEING is enough

Well if we know that applied for being loved, then what about our purpose?

What if our purpose is to be loved?

*Brain explodes* (Feel free to add sound effects to that)

Now on paper (or on a screen), this idea is simple.
But in reality, the intricacies of being human make things complicated. (Talk about a paradox)

In my experiences, I feel like when I am contributing to the world in a way that is unique to my being, then I become indisposable because I am operating in a way that only I can.  It feels good to occupy a space that you know is yours.

The real truth is,  I am indisposable because I am a human being and there is nothing that can define my worth (not even my work ethic). But I’m still learning that.

The past few days I’ve lost sight of that being. I’ve felt disconnected from myself and the value I innately carry from being who I am. 

I was questioning what my position is in my work. Am I producing things and contributing ideas in a way that only I can? 

Becuase I feel like I’m just a body taking up space.
That my soul, bright and beautiful, doesn’t matter and is useless.
The part of me that makes me ME doesn’t matter and no one cares about it as long as the tasks are completed.

These thoughts have been accompanied by nightmares of becoming a slave laborer and victim in an invaded country, and people totally forgetting/not caring about my birthday. Both nightmares are about feeling disposable. They are rooted in this desire to be purposeful, and valuable and created in fear that I am lacking.

I had a long conversation about all of this yesterday morning with Zach. Zach is one of my best friends and the Founder of LIVE A GREAT STORY, where I’m the Community Manager, Marketing Assistant, Intern Coordinator and many other things. (When working with a startup, you wear a lot of hats.)

Anyway, he talked to me while I sat on the phone and cried. I told him I felt pretty banged up from working in a place where I am totally replaceable (This is about one of my other jobs). And in situations where the compensation doesn’t match the value of my work. (There’s a really good podcast about this)

He talked for about 45 solid min about all the things I’ve accomplished with him for LIVE. He talked to me about all of my responsibilities and the numbers.

But it didn’t help.

“Everything you’ve told me I’ve done could have been anyone. It could have anybody’s body checking off tasks and sending emails to people. What value do I bring? What does my soul have to do with this?”

Zach is a very logical person. It was hard for him to understand at first what I was feeling. (and I’m still not sure he totally understands) To him, my value is obvious. (That’s nice)

Eventually though, he came to a close and said  “I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever. You’ve allowed me to see things I’ve never seen before. That’s why I love you.”

Suddenly I felt seen. After almost an hour of talking about the quantifiable & numerical aspects of my role in LIVE, I still didn’t feel like I mattered until heard that.

Because that was about me. That was about my soul. These were things that made me irreplaceable.

You are not quantifiable. Your purpose and your impact are not things that can be measured so stop looking for ways to compare yourself and gauge your success.

Your success comes from being, authentically. 

I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever.
You have a unique perspective in this world, and I love you.

You matter.
Sometimes we need a reminder.

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