One question I always recall asking my parents is “Why is s/he doing this job if they don’t want to?” I remember my mother always giving them the benefit of the doubt- whether it was that they were having a bad day, or that their parents never told them they could find a job they loved. My father, on the other hand, would say, “I don’t know Danielle. They should quit, but I have no doubt you will always be happy in whatever job you choose.”
And they were both right. Sometimes there are situations that cause a day to not be as fabulous as other days. Even I sometimes have days where I am not smiling and jumping for joy (although few-and-far-between!). But my parents always told me I could find a job I loved (make meaning), and that is exactly what I looked for. It was their constant reminders that it was possible, their nudges to try out different opportunities, and their example that they set for me that convinced me that one can exist in the “real world” and LOVE their job.
I can honestly say I love my job, but I think it goes deeper then that. I run to work every day because I find meaning in the role I have. I find significance in the value that I am giving my team, company, community, and dare I say the world. But, our mission at Luck Companies lends itself to making meaning. We have committed to “Igniting Human Potential through Values Based Leadership and Positively Impacting lives all around the world.” So, how do others find ways to make meaning when their company has not set the stage so perfectly? I would argue that anyone can find a way to, in our language, “ignite human potential.”
When I called Comcast with a discrepancy with my bill, the woman, Alexandria, was incredibly helpful and pleasant. She answered my questions immediately, fixed the issue on my account, and made a note of what we discussed in case I had to call about the issue again. Her demeanor was pleasant and I thanked her for making it so easy. She chose to assist me in a simple, helpful, and straightforward way. I walked away from the conversation feeling relaxed and at ease.
I traveled to Canada for my cousin’s wedding recently. My first flight had been slightly delayed and I had to take a shuttle to a different terminal to catch my second flight. I felt that I was quickly running out of time and the shuttle dropped me off just moments before they were supposed to close the gate. I grabbed my bag and sprinted- stopping only when I reached the customer service rep. “I am worried I missed my flight,” I announced, “I am traveling to Montreal.” The man, who was in the middle of some paperwork and surrounded by people also trying to figure out the solutions to their travel plans, stopped what he was doing, looked up at me and said, “Miss, you are perfectly on time! We are running just a few moments behind. Feel free to leave your bag with me if you need to run to the restroom or grab a bite to eat. We will not leave without you.” I almost fell over in shock! He could have very easily directed me to the information board or told me to wait. Instead, he took the time to help.
Both of these experiences, while seemingly just moments in time, could have very easily taken a different turn. We have all been on the phone where there is red tape we don’t understand and a bureaucratic process that takes up our day, our energy, and our patience. I assume you have had times at airports where you sometimes feel the goal is not to get you to your destination.
I argue that in my two examples above, both Alexandria and the unnamed Canadian Airline Representative made a choice to simplify the lives of others, to live in the moment, and to keep themselves in a straight and beautiful place.
So I challenge you- what meaning do you find in your work? How can you make today fit into creating that meaning? What choices can you be making that will help ignite human potential? Because, regardless of the role someone is in, there is always an opportunity to make meaning and to ignite human potential- you just need to make the choice to do it.