In each post, I'm going to try to focus on something I've learned that I can apply to other parts of my life. Sometimes, I learn great lessons at home that I can share with my team at work or with other folks (like the fact that it takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for sunlight to reach the earth, which the boys and I discovered the other night and which has given me new status as a "useless trivia geek" here at the office. Not sure if the "useless" applies to the trivia or to me, but no matter.) Today, however, I learned a lesson at work that I can bring home with me and share with my family and incorporate into my personal life.
One of my business partners from a different site called me today to talk about a new job that has opened up within the company. She was surprised that the job was open because it is considered an important one, but she was more surprised that I hadn't been "appointed" to the role. She asked me if I wanted it, and I responded by listing all of the reasons why it wouldn't work - I have too many projects going on, the timing is bad, etc. She listened to that for a while, and then asked me a simple question: "Do you want it?" The truth is that I do want it, and now I have to figure out how to get it.
WHAT I THINK IT MEANS FOR UNSCHOOLING
The concept of doing what you want, not what you can/should/shouldn't/could/were told to/etc, is an interesting one to me. I remember a great friend telling me recently that figuring out what you're capable of or what you can do is a curse, because it focuses on potential rather than on desire or passion. This is one of the fundamental tenets of unschooling in my view: that desire or passion for something is undeniable - you can't rationalize it, you can't control it, and you can't forget about it - it needs to be fed and pursued. This is the spirit that we love to see in our children and in ourselves, and I'm always grateful for the reminder.
WHAT I THINK IT MEANS FOR WORK
So much of the work world is about moving up, doing more, getting more, improving your weaknesses, "taking one for the team", etc. In my job, I coach and counsel people every day, and the first questions I ask them are "What do you want to do? What are you passionate about? What would you do if you were brave?" Most grown ups are totally unprepared to answer that question because they've been trained to keep those feelings deep inside in order to succeed within an organization or corporation. But helping people focus on their dreams and passions helps them find the right roles for themselves within an organization; and wouldn't all companies be better if everyone there was passionate about what they did? I'm not suggesting that we all just quit our jobs and join a commune or anything, and of course it's awesome if you like your job because that sets a great example for your co-workers as well as for your children (and is alot more fun for you, too.) I think it's also helpful to find the positives in what you're doing (learning a new skill, contributing to a project, helping someone) even if other aspects of the job are hard for you. But at the end of the day, if those positives don't fit your passions and dreams, it's always worth asking yourself "What the hell am I doing with my life?"
Until tomorrow . . . .