The Spirit of Work


I was told that work was supposed to be hard. You knew it was “work” because you would not be doing it unless someone was paying you for it. Work was not intended to feel good; it was intended to be productive.

I was told that the reward for working was financial.

Work was very individual. It was about me doing my work.

Work hard today. You can rest later.

You work hard five or six days a week for 30 or 40 years, then you can retire to do what you really want to do.

You could take satisfaction in doing your work well, but there was nothing to be proud of in merely meeting expectations.

Work was a jackhammer on concrete, or a pickaxe on a stone.

I have learned most of what I believe now about the spirit of work from Benedictine monks.

Work is deeper, more spiritual, than the actions we take. Work is about translating our deepest selves into practice. Work is how we share our core values with other people.

Work builds community.

Work is not just about accomplishing a set of tasks. Work is about doing things well and learning how to work better.

Work is more than surviving until I can retire. Work is more like breathing in and breathing out, finding the unforced rhythms of life and grace. Work balances with rest and play. Our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits work in concert. Doing work is a way of being.

Working well is its own reward.

Work is rain falling on the surface of a lake. Our work sends out ripples that continue to spread even when we pause in our own efforts.

What do you believe about work?

How does your work reflect your deepest self?

[Image by Peter Grima]

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  • Edward Colozzi

    Greetings from Boston Greg,

    Once again you have written about another piece of Truth that is alway present, and ready to guide our life journey, though most of us don’t slow down our busy lives sufficiently to appreciate it.

    Your own calling(s) cultivated through your fellowship and life with the Benedictines, brings forth a sensitivity and clarity that is evidenced in your writings.

    Yes, as you share “work is deeper, more spiritual…is about translating our deepest selves into practice…how we share core values…and work builds community”

    I am attaching two links that you and your readers might find useful that support what you write in your post about work and its value.

    The first is a discussion about a broader paradigm regarding the word “career” that views it, not as “paid work” as most people do, but expands the idea of career as multiple life roles (nine) most people are playing simultaneously throughout their life journey, thus the newer paradigm, “Career-Life”.

    The second link is to a March 1st worldwide launch to reframe career in the context of a simple and powerful word, CARE, that can be clearly understood by K12, college, adults, parents and presidents, and all stakeholders. We must help people realize the value of themselves in EACH of the five to six of nine major life roles that most adults play daily. Most fourth graders and homeless individuals worldwide also put time and energy into four to five of these same nine life roles.

    This invitation to help reframe career by spreading the word is just might nudge a generation to examine more deeply what your often write about regarding values, listening to the Spirit within, taking time to reflect, and yes, the true meaning of work.

    Here’s the LinkedIn link below and there is also a Twitter hashtag just opened called #ReframeCAREer. If you find this link meaningful, please assist us by spreading the word to your colleagues and friends, and through your social media connections.

    Thank you, Blessings, and Aloha, EdC

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you Edward.

      I am happy to spread the word, and eager to work with people and organizations who are looking for the meaning and purpose that bring our work to life, and life to our work.

  • Laura Morris

    Hi Greg,

    Just meandering through Twitter tonight and came across this post. It touched a special place in my heart as I am at a fork in the road so to speak, looking to the second chapter of my life.

    I have been in a deep soul searching place, because I want my next work to be a meaningful value to others, and one that expresses who I am at the core.

    My past work has been such in a leadership role, but part of me has always felt unsatisfied that I could not help more people accomplish the goals they were looking for.

    I know I’m speaking in very general terms, but I think you can get the jist that for me work has always been about showing people how to FLY..metaphorically speaking of course.

    I sometimes got frustrated when clients were afraid to bust loose and stopped themselves, and I suppose that’s just me keeping it real. Most mentors would tell you that if they were honest, although the really seasoned, patient ones are able to allow their students to BE and nurture them along.

    I might author a book, who knows. To answer your question in a very long winded way, work to me is my expression, and way to exchange energy with the world.

    • Strategic Monk

      Thank you, Laura.

      Yes! Work is a way of being who you are.

      Do not get discouraged or frustrated; do not be afraid. Keep taking the next step.

      Take deep breaths.

      How can I help you?