Tonight, as I was running...wait, as a full confession I was really walking, hurting from the 20 minutes of pain I inflicted on myself prior to that.
Anyway, as I "ran," I was listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast. If you've never heard of Bigger Pockets, check out this post. This podcast was a special one, episode 100. It featured the founder of Bigger Pockets, Josh Dorkin. I've always loved origins stories, and this one was all about how Josh got into real estate, how he started Bigger Pockets (which includes how he chose such a weird name), and what he plans for the future. It really was an insightful podcast and reiterated the fact that this isn't a gimmicky website. If you've ever considered real estate at any level – buying a home, buying a rental property, flipping, commercial, etc. – I strongly recommend checking out Bigger Pockets and all the free resources.
Near the end of every podcast they always ask four questions: 1) what's your favorite real estate book, 2) what's your favorite business book, 3) what are your hobbies, 4) how can people reach you. I Josh's answer to number 3 stood out to me. He said that he doesn't really have any because he has three daughters and they are really his hobby at this point in life. He said that if you really knew him, his family came first, in front of all of his work, even though he works hard.
I really loved what he had to say here and I recommend checking out the podcast. It got me thinking about my commitments a bit more. I started thinking about my work and what my commitments are. Can I say the same thing as Josh in terms of my family's importance and work? How does work relate to my family? How does it relate to my friends, community, etc.? Is it just a job?
Given as how my walk ended up being just about as long as my run, three commitments popped into my head. I think they are core to how I live and pursuits of the man I want to become more and more. They are the foundation and the walls and the roof.
Over the next couple of days I want to share them with you with the two-fold purpose of clarifying them for myself and hopefully encourage you to ask the same questions with the intention of developing your own commitments.
1. Committed to doing my work with excellence.
This seems like the best starting point. It has three main points that flesh it out more: I was made to work. I was made to work hard. I was made to work well.
I was made to work. As much as I prefer the idea of enjoying early retirement or vegging out on the beach, or having a perpetual Disney vacation, I was made to work. Humans are fascinating. Our minds have dreamed up the pyramids, penicillin, and personal computers. Our hands have painted the Sistine Chapel, built the Eiffel Tower, and written Harry Potter. We make. We create. We work! And while I will most likely never be remembered for the work I do, and while it can often feel burdened and empty – toil! – I can't avoid the fact that I was made to work.
I was made to work hard. When the work doesn't have much passion behind it, it's easy to resort to coasting, just getting by, just getting the paycheck. I have been tempted by this with every job I've ever held. But against this is the proverb, "whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might." There's no mention of passion here; it's literally "whatever." Working hard doesn't require passion; it requires character. It requires gratitude for whatever work I get to do, whether that was selling candles when I was 17 or software now at 33. It means integrity with co-workers and clients, doing what I say I'm going to do. It means honesty, even if the conversation is hard and disappointing. And yeah, sometimes it means weird, longer hours because the job just has to get done. This is character. Passion is a bonus.
I was made to work well. There's the notion of just doing the work. Then there's the added component of doing the work as hard as you can, hustling and grinding it out. All of that can seem directionless and dirty. They are necessary, but without doing my work well, I can never be excellent. To me this involves straight up experience, getting reps in and working muscles that both need to get strong or are getting worked for the first time. I don't think there's a better way to become excellent than just doing it a lot, but along with this comes the vital necessity to learn from mistakes, get feedback from mentors and peers, make the necessary adjustments, and keep going.
Tomorrow I will share how I'm committed to giving generously out of what my work produces.