The Satisfaction of Labor

I have another business besides this coaching practice. I have some rental properties. And, my business partner and I do most of the work ourselves. This means I have cleaned and painted and tiled and fixed and roofed and done a million other odd jobs over the years on different properties.

Here’s my little secret.

I love doing the work.

Certainly, I’ve been known to get really annoyed when a tenant leaves a place unreasonably dirty. But when a good tenant leaves a place in good condition, so you can prepare it to be a great home for the next tenant? That’s wonderful.

But that’s not all of it.

I also love that labor like this has a beginning and an end. As you’re doing it, the progress is clear. It’s easy to see.

And, when you are done, you are done.

There are lots of different methods, but really, as long as you get it done, it doesn’t matter how you did it.

Certainly when painting a room, you could always try to get cleaner cut-ins, nitpick the edges a bit more. But essentially, it needs to be painted and then it is painted. No point in discussing if you did it right or not. If it’s done? That’s it.


At some point it will probably need to be painted again, but you don’t have to think about it for awhile. At least not until the next tenant moves out. There’s no phantom energy draw.

Hobbies do it too.

Even if you have a hobby that you could do from now until the end of time, like reading or knitting or walking, you still have many moments of completion. Completion that isn’t marred by whether or not you did it right. Finishing a book, a scarf, a hike. Even if you start another book, project or walk right away, you completed the last one. And it’s done, so who cares how you got there?

If your life and work are full of things that never feel completed, that feel like there’s a better way, a different system, imagine what it would be like if you brought something into your life that gives you a clear cut sense of finishing, of accomplishing what you set out to do. And that however you got there is just fine.

Now imagine if that’s how you did everything.

What if you didn’t second-guess yourself. Get swayed by all the 10 easy step programs out there. What if you started being okay with the fact that you did it, and having done it, makes it good enough.

Photo Credit: Grisha is Smoking by Meir Jacob on Flickr


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