And now, on with today’s thoughts…
The other day, I was watching my good ol’ standby, “Chopped,” on Food Network (is it weird that a personal trainer is obsessed with Food Network? meh).
“Chopped” is a cooking show in which 4 contestants are given a variety of “basket ingredients” to make an appetizer, entree and dessert in each respective round. After each round, a chef is “chopped” for creating a dish that doesn’t measure up to his/her competitors’.
The newest episode happened to be a “cafeteria lady special,” meaning all 4 contestants were actual ladies who worked in school cafeterias.
No matter what your memories serve up, there is bound to be some sort of stigma in your mind around lunch ladies: Hair nets, bitter scowls and sloppy joe goop piled high on tasteless white hamburger buns…
Well, this episode proved me wrong in every sense… except the hair nets. ;)
These cafeteria ladies had so much heart!
They were there to help children who didn’t have food to eat when they went home.
They thought of creative ways to incorporate vegetables into pasta sauces so that kids would want to eat them.
They made games out of learning about food and how to eat right.
They grew gardens and were passionate about teaching kids how to grow their own food, thus strengthening their relationship with real food (which is sorely needed with today’s childhood obesity rates).
These women weren’t just lunch ladies; these women were artists.
They poured their heart and soul into creating a way to feed these children the best food their schools could afford, and their efforts extended well past the 12-1:00 hour.
I was inspired by them to write a post about how we can all start creating art within our own jobs.
I hear from so many friends and family members that their job is simply a means to an end; it pays the bills and gets them health insurance, but they just get through it as best they can and try to focus on the other parts of their lives that they enjoy.
Whoa there, guys. Do you know how much time we spend at work?
If you’re working a 9-5, five days a week, and you get 2 weeks off every year (as we Americans do… no comments, Europe ;)), here’s the truth of it:
You’re “just getting through” 1,680 hours per year. That’s 70 full days of your year you’re trudging through. 2800 days in a 40-year career.
That’s way too much of your beautiful life to waste.
No matter what you do, there is an art to it. If there isn’t yet, I hope I can help you remember how to be creative in any job by suggesting a few methods of finding creativity no matter where
Focus on Helping
When you’re at a desk for hours on end, or going through the motions, checking the clock all the while, it’s far too easy to forget about why you got into this job in the first place… or why it even exists at all.
Every job exists because there is a need that must be met. Your job is necessary; you make someone’s life easier, more efficient, or more pleasurable.
When you focus on that aspect of wanting to help, or support the cause for which your job exists, the dullness may fade away a bit.
How can you help meet the needs of this job more fully, creatively, and whole-heartedly?
Find The Rhythm
Every job has a rhythm. You know those periods of time you get into when you can accomplish loads of work because of your intense focus? That’s your rhythm!
What practices get you into that rhythm? We’ve got to find your motivating rhythm-producers.
Pay attention to when you feel at your most productive:
- When do you feel this way? Morning, noon, night?
- What are you doing when you get pumped up? Listening to your favorite band, looking at Pinterest, or talking to like-minded friends?
- Where do you work best? In a coffee shop, at work with headphones on, or at home?
Keep asking yourself these kinds of questions to create that rhythmic environment and produce your best art!
Why Do You Do It?
The answer to this question can get you reconnected with the passion you had in the beginning. You can lose sight of it over the years if you start focusing on the negatives.
Find the heart and soul at the core of what you’re doing. You’re here for a reason.
What do you do best, and how can you do more of that?
How can your unique talents benefit your company, customers, or the environment you work in?
Reconnect with that passion you may have clouded over with a little bit-o-bitterness, and get ready to conquer today’s work.
Create A Different Way
Ever had any ideas for a way to do your job differently, but haven’t tried it because no one else does it that way? Well, I say: GO FOR IT.
If you think it would be more efficient and wouldn’t cause any harm to the people or system around you, get to it!
The reason the lunch ladies from “Chopped” were so effective with their kids was in many ways due to the fact that they were willing to think outside the box. They went past their necessary duties and developed more creative ways to involve the children, that made them feel special.
Think of your customers or co-workers like those children; how can you create a new way to involve them more deeply in what you do? To get them to start thinking differently? To get your good work noticed?
Act From Love
I say it time and time again: When I changed my focus to acting from a place of love, rather than how I was being inconvenienced, my whole world changed.
- I started enjoying work more.
- I started becoming more effective and getting better results with more trainees.
- I started getting busier because other people who would watch me train in the gym would sense my warmth.
Similar to focusing on how you can help others, acting from a place of love simply requires you to reframe the way you look at your tasks at work.
How can you do your work from a place of love?
How can you react to your coworkers with love?
When I act from all that love inside of me (and yes, you have it, too), I find it’s so much easier to let the not-so-lovely things roll off my back. The day goes faster, and I feel better at the end of it because I know that I gave my full self to each person I worked with.
So are YOU an artist?
…trick question. Of course you are!
How are you going to show off your creativity this week?
In the comments below, tell us:
What suggestion speaks to you, and how can it help you find your inner artist this week?
Looking forward to hearing all about your masterpieces, guys!