The work has to be the win” – This quote from Ryan Holiday rings true for me as I grappled with a day at work where my well-laid plans fell apart. My parents who live in Kerala, are visiting me in Delhi. I have grown up away from them in boarding school and college hostels so family time to me is truly precious. Balancing work commitments and spending time with them is something I juggle and I had planned a work-from-home day so that I could have lunch with them. But my plans suddenly came unhinged.
A colleague messaged me that a client from outstation was visiting Delhi and wanted to have a breakfast meeting. The venue – a hotel in central Delhi, time 8.30 am. Okay, I said to myself, I can have the meeting and then drive back to Gurgaon for my next call which is an online meeting at 11.30, and then my next engagement was another online session at 2.00 pm and lunch could still happen. The lunch plan with parents is still on track.
Late evening, I get to know the breakfast meeting has now been shifted to a 10.30 am coffee meeting. Same venue. Now there is not enough time to head back to Gurugram for my next call. In the morning I learn my 10.30 has now become an 11.15 am catch-up.
The good news is that the meeting happened and the client was extremely happy with the work we are doing and it was a productive and enjoyable hour. My next meeting got cancelled 10 minutes before it was to begin and this allowed me to have lunch with some colleagues that I had not met for a while. It was a good meal and a good conversation.
This was followed by an hour-long ETmasterclass on “Building Your Brand In A Crisis Prone World” post which there was another set of online engagements, including an interview with a candidate. And then the long drive home. A drive that normally takes an hour and a half, on this particular day because of a sudden downpour took me three hours.
I just about got home in time to have dinner with my parents. I arrived home in a good mood and made the most of the few hours that I finally got with them. The same day could have caused me much angst. I could have been irritated with the constant changes in the time of my meetings. The last-minute cancellation of a meeting. For three hours I was stuck in traffic. The missed lunch with my parents. The list of irritants could be long and the long face could have easily slipped on.
What made it possible for me to navigate it with a smile? I think it is about enjoying what I do. And the reason is because it is aligned with my values and purpose. I enjoyed my client meeting, I enjoyed my lunch with colleagues, I enjoyed interacting with people in the office, and I enjoyed the hour spent teaching. The work itself gives me enjoyment and the outcome when positive is a bonus. The results of my work are important and of course, I want to win and grow. But even if I don’t, I still win. It was a day well spent, doing things I enjoyed for people who valued what I did.
I will find a day next week to have lunch with my parents. There are no free lunches in life but, I believe I have earned the privilege of having a meal with them on a working day as long as it does not get in the way of the work.
When I enjoy what I do, everything falls into place. And even when things go completely off plan, all is still well that ends well. The work has to be the win as Ryan Holiday reminds me.
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