Keep Your Eye on the Ball
by Tim Walker
Dogs and selfies are two of our culture’s ubiquitous loves. Why didn’t someone combine them earlier?
If you’re been on social media lately you’ve probably seen something about the “Pooch Selfie.” It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that ideas” that’s bound to make the creator millions.
The Pooch Selfie is a plastic apparatus (3D printed, BTW!) that attaches to your smart phone or tablet and holds a tennis ball, allowing you to capture a perfect selfie with your pet.
That made me think: What’s MY Pooch Selfie? What’s the thing that help me keep my eye on the ball at work? Is it even a good idea to look for motivation in our work?
There are lots of things that motivate us and help us focus on goals. Money, power, promotions…coffee. Some mornings it definitely feels like coffee. These things are good, but I’d argue that they are fleeting. There’s always a job or another opportunity that will offer more money or more prestige. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The coffee’s always fresher on another street.
I think our work has to be enough in itself. Knowing that our jobs are valuable in and of themselves (from the grocery bagger to the President) is really important. It’s also really hard to do. If you think about it though, relying on money or adulation from coworkers for value means your worth is tied directly to those things. When the bonuses and praise dry up, so does your motivation. Just about any job would be easy to love if you’re making 1,000/hr. But how will you handle it when you’re making 10?
We must understand that our work, the daily process of accomplishments and contributions to a common whole, is valuable. If you think it’s a stretch to make a connection between this and a dog staring at a tennis ball, you’re probably right. But if you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that a tennis ball can solve just about any problem. In the moment, there’s nothing more important than that ball. That tennis ball is desirable to a dog because it’s a tennis ball. The dog has no idea how its owner acquired the ball, how much it cost…or that it’s actually used in a game called tennis. The ball is valuable because of what it is.
The more we see the intrinsic value in our jobs, the more we’ll be able to accomplish and the less we’ll rely on temporary motivation to accomplish our goals at work!