“So long as you see the business part as separate from the deep work part you’ll suffer.”
Recently in a FB group, I’m in someone asked this question about doing deep work and building a business/career and I replied – with the quote above.
And a few people asked me to expand on that, but it’s a bit long for a comment reply so I thought I’d post it here.
If you want to understand how I bring together making money and doing the work this post will help.
SO NOW THE QUESTION
In this woman’s question I heard her creating a split between, 1) Doing deep work 2) and Doing work or business.
I read what she said as: I like the pure part, the service part, but I don’t like the work part, the business part, the sales, the money, that stuff.
And I see this a lot in my work as a coach, both with other coaches as well as idealistic entrepreneurs.
But the mistake is thinking that somehow the work is pure and WORK is impure. I mean you could do the work on that statement but it probably won’t help you build a business.
THE MONK AND THE HUNTER
Instead, I like to think of myself as having two parts: A monk and a hunter.
The monk is concerned with the purity of the work I do. The quality of the tools I use. He guards and protects my spiritual being.
The hunter wants to make money. He understands that to create change in the world I have to step into the marketplace. I have to meet people where they are. I have to move them from (a new dryer will solve my problems to) my thoughts are causing me pain, but if I can learn to see the ephemeral nature of thinking I can learn to live in peace.
The monk only cares about doing the work, but the hunter gets that to hunt is to transform.
WHEN I DO MY BEST WORK I HONOR BOTH PARTS
I understand that the monk will always long for purity in what I do. He may wish I never had to sell. He may wish to live as a hermit doing the work in a small hut. But my hunter knows I can help more people if I go out into the world.
He knows I need tools like sales, marketing, a brand, a career, the skills of persuasion, etc. to create change.
I also understand my hunter is a bit bloodthirsty, he tends to get lost in the hunt sometimes. He might push me to get salesy or pushy from time to time, but he means well. I monitor him and check in to see where I’m coming from.
But in both cases, I’m clear about my intention. I sell and market from a place of transformation and creating possibility I also do the work from that place. One side needs the other, unless of course I just want to be a monk and actually go live in monastery or hermitage.
The problem only arises when we see the world of commerce, business, or work as separate from doing powerful work in our lives. It can be that. The world certainly wants us to be resigned to that, but it doesn’t have to be.
To me, one central lesson of deep work is that you can deconstruct and create thoughts. Deconstruct the one’s that disempower you, that keep you trapped, and create ones that help you help yourself and serve others.
So I choose to create thoughts around work that inspire me, that encourage me to be of help, in my company and practice as a coach, but this is just as true if you work for someone else.
I teach this to my client and to coaches I train as well, because it offers so much more freedom, then the idea that the work is pure and work is impure.
Today I will remember that if I want my work to be impure I can create it that way and complain about it, but if I want it to be meaningful I can choose it and put meaning into it. If I actually want to do something else that has more meaning I can work towards that, but vilifying what I do now adds nothing to that effort. It only robs me of energy.