Media has bombarded us for not just decades but hundreds of years of message and media telling us that this or that thing will inspire us, fulfill us, and make our lives the dream we’ve always dreamed.  I see this all the time in the spiritual community.  Just follow this program, take this workshop, get certified in that method and your life will flow with milk and honey.  More abstractly we are told that if we somehow find that exactly right thing to do as a career we’ll be amply rewarded financially as well as spiritually and personally.  We’ll be overflowing with work that’s so fun it’s not work and personal well-being and fulfillment that makes every day like the happily ever after of a Disney princess movie.

Which puts us on the spiritual scavenger hunt to find that one career path, that one job, that one thing, whatever that one thing might be, that will have the golden ticket in it. And we can hunt and hunt and hunt and never find it.  In fact, we can eat so many of those *#^$*##*^ candy bars that we make ourselves sick looking.  And yet we’re told that the golden ticket it out there and everyone gets one. If you haven’t found one yet you’re not looking hard enough, haven’t tried long enough, are looking in the wrong places, or maybe it’s a problem within you!  It can seem like everyone else either has their ticket or is so close to finding it that it doesn’t matter.

For me the problem with this is that the entire process seems to be backwards.  We shouldn’t be expecting our work to inspire us.  It’s kinda the cart before the horse.  Our lives should be about living and that living should bring us joy and fill us up and even inspire us.  Our cup should runneth over with life and from that overflow we create a career, a product, a means of expressing our lives into the world.  Our work should be a conversation with ourselves and the world around us that others can share in and be inspired by just as we’re inspired by them.  Our experiences in living should be what we use as fuel to get the job done instead of expecting the job to give us fuel in order to have experiences. Because the job rarely will.  The job is something we give to the world, but first we have to have something to give and that something shouldn’t be our essential selves on a plate like an Aztec sacrifice.  So instead of looking for a career that fills you up, look to your life to refill your cup so you can pour more out into your career and thereby the world. We’ll all be better and richer for it.