Do What You Love, Love What You Do

During the last couple of weeks following my hospital stay for a Pulmonary Embolism I have been forced to slow down and have purposely tried to be more receptive to life lessons and be reminded of the important things of life.  In 2002 I had the opportunity to press the pause button in life and spend 6 months considering, planning, and moving forward on a new career.  I started this time in Aspen Colorado with one of the five men that I have been meeting with for years in Estes Park.  See my blog post from December 12th about this group.   http://jeffreyapplegate.com/?p=136    We spent the better part of three days dialing in to what was important to me in my life and would lead to a fulfilling and prosperous career.  We followed the program by Tom Patterson Living the Life You Were Meant to Live.  During this time of complete surrender, deep reflection, rest, prayer, solitude, and encouragement I was able to come up with five characteristics for a career that would be an ideal fit for me, align with my personality, and provide a life work that would bring joy and satisfaction.  There is no magic to the number five and although you may share these desires in your career the ones that meet my needs are not necessarily fitted for others.  The five characteristics for me are as follows. 
  1. Meaningful Relationships – I need to be in a career that allows me to develop and enjoy personal relationships.  For me personal relationships with others is what life is all about and what brings me the greatest joy.
  2. Control – I had to be in a career that allowed me the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that I felt are best for the organization and be accountable for those decisions.
  3. Entrepreneurial – I enjoy the excitement and adrenaline rush that comes with managed risk and reward of “playing the business game”. 
  4. Adventure to Live – I had to find a career that allowed me to have fun.  I have both an analytical and creative bent and I love to be part of creating products and enjoy great diversity in my activities.
  5. Challenge to Conquer – I enjoy staying at a task and working towards a goal that when accomplished brings great satisfaction.

I found these five characteristics in Blackwell Plastics.  We manufacture custom products for a variety of industries.  The relationships I share by working toward creating new products with employees, customers, and vendors is the greatest privilege.  I get the opportunity to share in the entrepreneurial dreams of our customers and participate in working along their side to realize those dreams. Restoring the 70 year old company to be recognized in our region as the best custom injection molder and extruder has been a lot of fun and a great and rewarding challenge.  I put together the simple video at the top of this post to help all or our employees recognize the value and take pride in the worthwhile work that we get to participate in everyday.  

As I recover from my Pulmonary Embolism I am reminded that, for me, life is about enjoying the God-given relationships and collecting life experiences.  For me, it is not about collecting the would of, could of, should of’s.  I write to encourage you to “press the pause button”, reflect on your career, your family, or other areas where you invest your time.  Identify what is really important in your life.  What gives you the greatest joy and the deepest satisfaction.  Whatever it takes, find a path to get you there.  Start today.  Accept more invitations, go to the zoo, write personal notes, go on more vacations, explore the woods with you child, spend more time with family and do the things that really matter in your life.

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