Street Sweeper

We’re often told that doing purposeful work that we love will bring us happiness and fulfillment. This is often summarized as “finding your why.” Is this message making people happier or more dissatisfied?

While trying to find enjoyable and meaningful work makes sense, the belief that it is necessary for happiness and fulfillment leads to dissatisfaction and hurts performance.

Many entertainers and athletes have a poor life experience even though they’re living their dream and using their wealth to help others. Many people who serve others like medical professionals, teachers, and stay-at-home parents are stressed out and unsatisfied.

There’s an even larger population who are dissatisfied because they aren’t living their dream or helping others. Both groups keep searching and looking for the world and their work to fulfill them.

Vision Pursue has a different approach. We suggest finding fulfillment and inspiration internally and then bringing that to what you do. With this approach, “what” you do is less important than “how” you do it. The starting point is changing your expectations.

Not only do we want our work to be purposeful work that we love, many of us expect it to be fun, flexible, high paying, low stress, and filled with great people. Are there any jobs like this? Are we expecting too much?

We can take the best job available and avoid the dissatisfaction from wanting a perfect job. We can direct that energy toward excelling by connecting, contributing, and creating. Right-sizing our expectations doesn’t mean we have to settle. Who will rise faster and enjoy their job more, a dissatisfied employee or an appreciative one who is about overcoming challenges and contributing?

In 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech to students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. The talk was about vocation and was entitled, “What is your life’s blueprint?” Dr. King did not emphasize finding the right vocation but rather bringing passion to one’s vocation. The following lines beautifully layout this approach.

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Bringing a “Street Sweeper” mentality to your work will improve your satisfaction, relationships, and performance.

Find out how VP can create street sweepers in your organization. Email