Buddha, Bedtime and Career Enlightenment

Map of how you get to complete happiness, by Natalie Petherick. Age: 8

Map of how you get to complete happiness, by Natalie Petherick. Age: 8

My daughter and I are reading The Teaching of Buddha as our bedtime story these days.  We came across the book in our hotel room recently while on family vacation.  She started reading it on her own and when it came time for us to check out, well… let’s just say that I’m a cheerleader for both literacy and spiritual growth! It’s been a few months now and our reading has led to some baffling bedtime conversations…

On one hand the book seems to have awakened a sense in my daughter of something greater than herself.  On the other, my 8-yr-old is also now really stressing about achieving enlightenment. (Are you kidding me?)  The other night when I came into her room to tuck her into bed, I found her crying and when asked what was wrong she wailed, “Mom, what if I never reach enlightenment!?”

I was baffled.

Her question made me think, how often in life do we, as adults, stress about reaching our career destination instead of focussing on our journey?

Like my daughter, we often convince ourselves that we’ll *finally* be happy when we reach enlightenment, lose weight, get promoted, pay off the mortgage, …or whatever.  We reason that the end will justify the means; the long hours, missed family time, and stressful workload will all someday be worth it when we reach our goal.

But what if we never get there?

Will the journey have been worth it?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for paying your dues and doing the heavy lifting… and lofty goals inspire us to dig deeper and reach farther than we would dare without them. But my point is this:

Don’t wait to enjoy your life (or your career).

Do commit to consistent effort toward your goals, but don’t hinge your happiness on some future achievement.  Because you may never get there.  You might never reach “enlightenment.”

So make sure that your work – today – is enough.  Make sure it’s fun, meaningful, and productive enough for it to be its own reward.  It – alone – should justify the means. And if it doesn’t… I know a great career coach who can help. [wink]










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