Most of us go to work at least five days a week with varied levels of interest and each of us for different reasons. Some people work to live, while others live to work. Some people work for love of money or power, while others go simply to make a difference. No matter what we state as our motivation, our actions are likely more representative of why we make that commute. I personally believe Seth Godin said it best in my most current favorite book Linchpin, “We are surrounded by Bureaucrats, Note Takers, Literalists, Manual Readers, TGIF Laborers, Map Followers, and Fearful Employees.” His point is that too many of us go to work ready to play the role of compliant, replaceable cogs instead of original thinkers who truly care about making a difference and finding better ways of things done.

Some might say that the Navy demands compliant people whose sole job is to do what we are told, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Please don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place to assume that role and I have on many occasions. As time goes on, I find it more difficult to play such a role, as I believe when doing so I am shirking my responsibility. At the same time, I continually encourage those with whom I serve to transform from compliant cog to passionate, creative problem solver at their earliest opportunity (if they haven’t already). I know far too many people who hate what they do, go through the motions while at work and define success as being compensated as much as possible for doing as little as possible. At the same time, there are plenty of people who work their tails off strictly in pursuit of monetary gain, an award or the next promotion. The WHY we work is revealed in how we approach it. Why do you make that commute to your current job?

Last week, a Sailor made a statement to me in passing that meant so very much. At the end of his check-out interview, he told me that it was obvious that I loved my job and the people with whom I work. Though it rolled off his tongue so simply, it has echoed in my mind for a few days now. Some of my colleagues wonder why I maintain this blog and why I spend a portion of my evenings working on various work-related side projects. The reason is the very one highlighted by the Sailor last week…I love what I do and the people with whom I serve. There is something especially gratifying when the people you value most understand and appreciate the motivation behind your actions. Truth is, there is no better compliment than being told that it is obvious that your love is revealed in your actions.

How many of us have been told or have made the time to tell another that it is obvious you love…

…being married to your spouse
…being the parent to your child
…making other people smile
…being part of a team
…your favorite hobby
…being a friend
…your profession

This world is full of people who go through the motions. Let’s continue to ensure we are not one of them and acknowledge others whose actions make it obvious they love what they do. Thank you to the Sailor who commented on the alignment between my WHY and my actions. You have inspired me to make the time to help assist others find the pleasure of knowing their passion is both obvious and appreciated.

  • Do you love what you do?
  • Is it obvious to others?
  • How are you helping others see themselves as more than a cog?