Monday, July 2, 2007

When I Get to Go to 'Plerk'

I attended a seminar a few months ago where one of the speakers used the word "plerk." It was an invented word, so it's simply spelled phonetically here. The speaker really enjoyed his work, so much so, that he considered it a combination of play and work, or "plerk" as he called it. He loved spending time at "plerk." So would I, I thought.

Specifically what he did is not important at this time. It was fitting for him, not something everyone should do. However, I have been on a similar path before. For most of my life, work was work and I tried to leave it at work. After work, I loved to play, if and when I had the time. My motto was, "Work hard and play hard" and one was never confused with the other.

Now, I can see the time coming soon when I get to go to "plerk," too, where work becomes play and vice-versa. In this day and age, especially in this society, we seek work that pleases and fulfills us, uniquely fits us, and feels more like play than hard labor. For me, the idea of working on my business instead of in my business is a start. (This idea is clearly expressed in 'The E-Myth Revisited.') I have a plan to derive greater pleasure while I'm working, not just from my work. I'm not there yet, but I'm heading in the right direction.

My journey from work to "plerk" is getting easier. At first, I had all kinds of subconscious blocks. It didn't help that I repeated my motto with pride. Oh, I enjoyed my job when I entered into that line of work. But I felt stuck in my career after a while and for a long time. Work was supposed to be hard. If something came easy for me, or if I enjoyed it, that wasn't work. (My bosses made that clear.) I know I still have a few hurdles. However, I'm becoming more conscious of them as mere assumptions and that gives me more choices.

Here's an example. It struck me just the other day while reading 'Book Yourself Solid' that we commonly provide an answer concerning work that does fit the question actually being asked. "What do you do?" is intended, and accepted, to regard work, nothing else. The first two words in the answer, however, are not, "I do" or some other action verb. They are, "I am." "I am a writer." "I am a carpenter." "I am a chemical engineer at a large pharmaceutical company." When asked what we do, we answer with who we are, as if our title or job description simultaneously defines us and satisfactorily answers a question about action.

Why not answer the question directly and clearly? "I earn money by helping small business owners make the most of the Internet to market their businesses." Who cares if my title is "Internet Consultant"? What is that anyway, expect a ploy to raise curiosity while impressing my neighbor?

Personally, I've had to work at thinking differently about work. I had to unlearn assumptions that formed my foundational understanding of work. I had to acquire new philosophies about work, talents, fulfillment, priorities, etc. One assumption I'm dealing with now is in regard to writing. I always enjoyed it. Many people have indicated they like my writing style. The formula for success seems simple. Even still, I have a way to go. I don't feel justified in charging for my writing. I don't think I'd be able to survive from freelance income. As you can see, there is a lot of negativity holding me back. I can admit it. I can see it. But, to work around it is, well, work, not "plerk," for now.

What do you think? Are work and play separate? Can they be combined? Must one or both of them be compromised in order for that to happen? Personally, can you tell work and play apart? Is your attitude such that it doesn't matter what work you do? Do you have a talent, gift, ability, desire, or destiny that expresses itself through work? Do you have something that you were meant to do and it simply gives you great joy to be able to do that? Please leave a comment and let me and others know what you think.

My Reviews:
Book Yourself Solid
helps translate potential clients into people you were meant to work with. This is a must-have book for anyone who builds a network of clients. I noticed a change in my approach within the first few chapters. I can't wait to implement all of the ideas.The E-Myth Revisited clarifies the difference between working in your business and working on your business. I loved the beauty of simplification in this story that reveals the myth that self-employment is anything like business ownership. I had also read "Rich Dad Poor Dad" which did the same thing but with other ideas thrown in.
The Path is about developing a personal mission statement which connects work and life with purpose. Using biblical and other historical principles, the author illustrates the distinct position of someone on an important mission. This is the kind of book I want to read again and again.
The Pathfinder delivers a systematic way to choose a satisfying and successful career. I also needed to get ideas and change my thoughts about possibilities and this book helped me a lot.
What Color is Your Parachute is an annual classic about designing your life's work. This is an intense book. It requires a lot of thought and exercises. I read an earlier edition which I felt focused too much on a career in the world of employment. However, that may have just been my own short-coming at the time I read it. Since then, I've come to think that the Epilogue in this book alone makes it all worthwhile reading.
Do What You Are is a discovery of what may suit you based on the Myers-Brigg personality type. It had plenty of examples and descriptions of each to make this a favorite reference book of mine. (However, I disagree with the idea that personality type never changes through life. I think I've become more extroverted over time. Then again, perhaps my introversion was not true introversion, but repressed extroversion.)
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was is worth it if you relate to the title at all. I did - big time. The book is full of fun exercises, humor, and light-hearted insights that helped me release creative energy. Barbara Sher is one of my favorite authors because her books read like she's sitting right in front of me.
It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now is another fun book about letting it go by Barbara Sher. This book was key to me for letting go of assumptions and regrets, and learning to dream and pursue my dreams again.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is another must-read if you haven't already. It was and is the single most important book to me in transitioning from a state of employment to business owner. It basically gave me permission to think about money in a different way (without being greedy). It is what got me unstuck from my career.