I was writing in my journal recently about how I “need to” do something.
And then I stopped. I stopped and pondered what I had just written.
“I need to.” What an interesting phrase. We bandy it around often in our daily lives, but there is something in that phrase that just screams “disempowerment.” “Drudgery.” “Victim.” “Judgement.” “Fear.” A tone and intent that lacks beguiles, subtly yet powerfully.
“I need to” is a perspective in life that isn’t likely to get our careers very far, or at least not as far as we would like them to be, or at least not as quickly. When the tasks we need to perform are filled with dread or consternation, we rob ourselves of the spark, magic, and vitality with which we can choose to approach them. Why make this a “need to” circumstance as opposed to a “want to” or, better yet, “honored to?”
I’m reminded of a saying in Zen saying: before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. It’s not the task, it’s the approach. It’s not the job, it’s the intent. Chopping wood and carrying water take on a whole new meaning after enlightenment while, at the same time, being a pathway to it.
Make your career something spectacular by unburdening your burdens. The only thing that you “need to” do is to embrace an approach of choice and empowerment.