Ever since we moved, we’ve had an ongoing conversation about how dirty a new house gets while they’re still building other houses all around you. There is constantly SO much dirt in the air. It often looks like an Arizona dust storm outside our windows, especially when the street sweeper comes by, or the landscapers intentionally use the blower to blow dirt. (What even is the purpose of that practice??) Hiring a window washer is expensive, especially if one is needed repeatedly. It turns out that my boys are enjoying some new hobbies that are also expensive.
As a result, we’ve been talking a lot about how they might be able to afford their newfound hobbies.
Naturally one so the ideas that immediately surfaced, was that they could start a window washing business. Even if they priced their jobs very low, it would be a great service to all the neighbors, and it could quickly be profitable for them. So one day last week, we took a trip to Home Depot to select and invest in the supplies they would need to begin said business. It was hilarious to listen to their reasoning as they discussed why they would or wouldn’t need each item they selected. (I especially enjoyed the cost versus function debates!) After a short deliberation and much encouragement from the lovely folks at Home Depot, who answered all their questions, the supplies were purchased and we were on our way home.
In the car on the way home, we brainstormed business names.
Laughter ensued. We began with “Wax On, Wax Off Windows”. We went all sorts of other directions, while they checked available URLs. While the name and URL are still pending, this one decided to go ahead and get to work. Together we washed and shined 17 windows. It was hard work (for both of us!), but it was such a joy to see him working hard, without complaining.
Yes, it was filling a need for our family to have clean windows.
But while he was working, I was watching his confidence grow. Sure, he was thinking about the payoff for him, but he was also standing a little straighter, with a bigger smile after every spotless window he finished. He wasn’t becoming a window washer.
He was becoming a little entrepreneur.
With a vision of the future of his business in mind, he was determined to learn to wash windows the right way. He had his eye on a streak-free shine, and for the most part, he achieved it! When we finished, he started a load of laundry to wash all the towels. Then we sat down at my desk to create his first official invoice, which I thought would be the most exciting part for him. In my mind, I had been helping him overcome his problem of wanting cash, to buy something he loved.
But I quickly realized, during our window washing adventure, that he was actually showing me something.
He was showing me what a difference it makes to attach meaning to your work. At first, he was enjoying the hard work, simply because of what it was going to mean to his bank account. But it didn’t take long for him to begin enjoying the journey because of who he was becoming. He instantly felt stronger, more competent and more capable. He was proving that even the mundane, tiring tasks we do on a daily basis can be fulfilling, if we choose to consistently attach meaning to them.
The intentional choice to enjoy the journey transforms, not only the work, it can also transform the goal.
Most of all, it will completely change you. It will change who you are becoming.
Of course, it’s easier said, than done.
I’ve personally been in a real funk about housework lately. (Of course, the boys help, but come on, it’s not the same.) The vacuuming, the dishes, the trash, the cleaning up elderly dog accidents, the NEVER-ENDING picking up . . . it’s been making me cranky and sour. I’m working to reframe it.
It starts with the small step of setting the intention.
If you’re doing work that seems meaningless today, it’s up to you to decide to attach meaning to it. Why are you doing these tasks? What is the end goal?
Who are you becoming on the journey?
Are you becoming stronger? Wiser? More patient? More loving?
If the work must be done, you might as well decide to let it make you better.
to more love,
P.S. This is one of my favorite themes that emerges during our “fireside chats” with women founders at our GNO’s every month. The journey is often hard, it’s what you decide to do with the hard that matters most. There’s still room for you to join us in two weeks at “Gather ‘Round GNO. Let it make you better!