This was originally posted on JohnOLearyInspires.com. When John O'Leary was 9 years old, he suffered burns over 100% of his body and was expected to die. He is now an inspirational speaker and bestselling author, teaching more than 50,000 people around the world each year how to live inspired. John's first book, ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was published March 15, 2016. John is a contributing writer for Huff Post and Parade.com. John is a proud husband and father of four and resides in St. Louis, MO. Order John’s book today anywhere books are sold.
How do you view the work that you do?
Whether your job is selling insurance policies, serving coffee or leading a large organization…
Raising tots at home, teaching kids at school or basking in the twilight years of life: The manner in which you view the work you do – and the life you lead – matters profoundly. Let me explain.
A Reminder about the Impact of Our WorkFrequently, after speaking at events for organizations, I have the pleasure of meeting individual employees. During the “meet-and-greet” I enjoy signing my books, but I love meeting people and hearing their stories.
After a handshake or hug, I often ask the individual to tell me about him or herself. The open-ended question permits them to take the conversation in any direction they choose.
Some respond with hobbies they enjoy, family they love, individuals who inspire them or dreams that motivate them. All too often, though, they begin by telling me what they do for the business with a word that cheapens everything that follows it: just.
I’m just in sales.
Just a janitor.
Just an admin.
Just an intern.
Just work at the front desk.
It’s not just at corporate presentations that I hear people diminish the extent to which their work and lives matter. I also hear:
I’m just a stay at home dad (or mom).
Just a sophomore.
Just a retiree.
The work we do, the tasks we perform, the relationships we cultivate, and lives we lead matter. Always.
I learned this truth 30 years ago by a doctor in the burn center where I was treated. Every morning, he made rounds to each of the patients’ rooms with his team. He then reminded each of them individually that they weren’t just doing a task, but shouldering the sacred role of keeping their patients alive.
One of the team members on these rounds was ‘just’ a janitor named Lavelle. Dr. Ayvazian would bring him into the room, invite him to come close to me and say, “You see this little boy? You are keeping him alive. This is the result of your good work.”
You see, with burn care the primary killer of patients is an infection. And the primary agent to mitigate the likelihood of infection is the janitor. In other words, the critically important role of saving the life of patients relies upon just the janitor.
My doctor, an inspired leader, not only reminded Lavelle of this truth but invested time to remind the entire team. He wanted each of them to understand the value of the job they did.
Everything You Do Matters
So, how do you view the job that you do?
No, not what do you do, or how much are you paid, or how do others perceive that work. How do you view the impact of your job… and your life?
Turns out your answer to this question informs how you view yourself and your ability to impact those you serve.
My friend, know that you do make a difference. You. Do. Matter.
Own the truth that one person can change the world…and that person can and must be you.
It’s an inspiring and uplifting feeling, and it’ll breathe life back into you.
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