Katherine Graham was the publisher of the Washington Post from 1963 to 1991. She was the first 20th century female publisher of a major American newspaper. Under her reign the Watergate Scandal was uncovered and reported, the story that brought down a President. She was the first woman elected to the board of the Associated Press and the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She did not get there by just earning her paycheck. She took over the magazine after her husband commit suicide. She found herself plunged into turmoil, crisis and family strife after her husband’s death, and yet found her way. She dug in, she dug out, she managed and expanded the reach of her publication all while doing what she loved.
Katherine’s life reminds us that nothing is easy, no matter our family background or social standing. Strife, hard work, and struggle come to everyone who is working. Instead of giving into grief and pain, Katherine moved into the role of publisher and thrived. She had to earn her stripes and the respect of her team, she had to change and learn and grow into the woman she became. Not so easy when she was in so many areas the first woman to knock down the barriers. She didn’t let that stop her, she found a way to love her work and see it’s value by knowing that it mattered.
We spend more time with the people we work with than with the people in our family. We spend more time working than we do anything else in our world, so why not actually do work that we love? That can be a tough call when we work to earn, and earning does not always mean loving what we do. For some of us work is for a paycheck. It provides the funding we want to have the lifestyle we seek and it is the vehicle we choose to support our families. It’s a job. It’s money, it is what we do to meet our end goal. Sometimes that is enough. Depending upon where we are in life, that is our only option. Or is it?
What is preventing you from seeing the value in what you do? Instead of just seeing your work as a paycheck, what would help you turn it into a service or passion for that portion of your world? What are you struggling with in your job – which if you have done it for a while is actually your career – and how can you change your attitude to give yourself purpose in your work? I know, if you won the lottery you might not do this kind of work, many people would say that…but have you won the lottery? If not, then maybe it’s time to change your attitude towards work, no matter what it is, and put your heart into it as a service to your coworkers, your company, and to help you grow your career. A paycheck mentality is only keeping you in turmoil. Change your thoughts and you have the power to change your life.
Sometimes it is not only our skills that prevent us from progressing, it is our mentality around our work. Take time to reflect on your “work” and find the value you bring instead of simply waiting for payday. Maybe it is time to dig in, breakdown your own mental barriers and find the purpose and fun in your largest time commitment. Work doesn’t have to be a drudgery or obligation, we can choose to see it as a gift and vehicle to change lives. Maybe it is time to get rid of your paycheck mentality.