Three things have happened to me in the last 24 hours which have tugged on my heart quite a bit and I knew I had to get some things off my chest. I also knew that there was a lesson that I could learn from the events that have taken place during this time, as I have found that there is always a lesson embedded in every event (good or bad) if we look hard enough…
The Last 24 Hours
Yesterday, I found out that my good friend (and agent) has inoperable brain cancer. This morning I had a very heart-wrenching conversation with a homeless man that I actually can’t help at the moment (I have a homeless foundation so I like to think I can always help)… and of course, I got the news of this horrible shooting in Colorado and the story of a passionate and budding professional woman named Jessica.
For the purposes of this post, however, I want to focus on Jessica Ghawi (also known as Jessica Redfield) and how she has forever changed the way I look at business.
What I Learned from Jessica Redfield
As an entrepreneur who dropped out of college (ironically, at The University of Colorado) to run my first business, over the last twenty-one years since that time, I have found the tragically consistent theme that most people tend to separate their business lives from their personal lives in a very damaging way (I have also been the poster child for this many times before).
It wasn’t until today that I really have full clarity that, no matter what we are doing, it is critically important to understand that EVERYTHING we do, whether business or personal, is still part of our lives. We don’t have a business life and a personal life, we have ONE, all-encompassing LIFE. Period. For this reason, we must take advantage of every moment of our lives, whether it be business or personal … because it can be taken away from us when we least expect it.
Business Is 50% of our lives
Statistically, work is one-third of our lives at the absolute minimum, the other third consists of whatever we do ‘outside of work’, and the remaining third is sleep. So, basically, our work, business, profession, whatever you want to call it, is 50% of our lives. I point this out because it is absolutely imperative that we have a passion for what we do professionally in order to truly love life the way Jessica did.
If You Love Your Work, You’re Not Working
I always use the quote “if you love your work, you’re not working.” It has always meant a lot to me, but never as much as it does at this very moment.
I took a look at Jessica’s twitter pics and I can see a person who exemplified this philosophy. Yes, she reported on all things hockey, but when I look at her pictures whether business or personal, you could tell she was hockey’s #1 fan. I can also tell she had tremendous passion for what she did, something, again I have always preached but have not always practiced.
When I started my first business I was all passion and no business. Before I knew it, I was all business and no passion, and without passion there was no joy, no matter how big the paycheck. I have had many businesses, and what I can say for certain is that all of them were born from passion, however, each time, the more and more of a business it became, the less and less of a passion I seemed to have for it (that’s probably why I love my not-for profit business the most).
Jessica practiced what I’m trying to preach, as she was a far greater practitioner of it than I ever was. I can tell Jessica loved her work, and loved her life. What’s so fascinating (and at the same time not fascinating at all but rather commonsensical) is that rarely have I ever found a person who loves life and hates their work. We can’t hate life half the day, and love life the second half, and then wake up and start hating life again. As emotional beings, it’s not humanly possible. Even if we did, and we spent half of our lives hating life, we really would never know what it’s like to truly love life (certainly not the way Jessica seemed to at least).
Jessica loved her work. For that reason, because she loved her work, she wasn’t working.
She has reminded me and I’d like to remind you to love your work and anything and everything else you do, and most importantly, even when you think you aren’t loving life, remember there is a lesson embedded in everything. Even tragedy. I learned the greatest lesson I have ever learned in business from someone I never knew.
Without life, there is no business. So love your business and love your life for every moment of it that you have because, like she has taught us, you never know when it will be taken away from you.
Thank you Jessica for teaching me one of the greatest lessons I have ever been taught. God bless you.