For the first time since 1995, the U.S Government officially shutdown today due to the inability of Congress to approve a spending bill. The government shutdown will force about 800,000 government workers to take unpaid time off.
While government shutdown might not be the best for your work life—if you are affected, it might be the best time to reflect on your life work.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why — Mark Twain
If you are affected by the government shutdown, take this time to reflect on who you are, why you are born, and what you are here to contribute.
Here are five ways you can make the government shutdown work for you:
Take advantage of the government shutdown to re-ignite your passion
If you are not very passionate about your job, the government shutdown might be your opportunity to really take some time to think about what you love, what you have keen interest in, and activities you know you can pursue with passionate obsession. If your job does not get you excited, it might be an indication that you should be somewhere else doing something different.
Are you enthusiastic on your job? Are you happy when you are carrying out the tasks and the activities on your job? If you are not very happy with your job, if you are making money but not making progress, and if you are not fulfilled even after giving more than 8 hours to your job, it’s time to look within you to really discover what you are passionate about.
To know what you are passionate about, find the subjects that you debate passionately about, write down your hobby, list the type of conferences you like attend, the kind of books you like to read, or the things you can continue to do even when you are tired. They are all indicators of your enthusiasm and what you are passionate about.
Take advantage of the government shutdown to rediscover what you enjoy
If your current job does not you fulfill your desires, expectations, and the demands on your mind. If you feel unsatisfied after spending 8 hours of your day on your job or if you feel your heart is yearning after something else, you are not doing what you enjoy.
If you don’t derive satisfaction from your day job but enjoy what you are doing part-time, the government shutdown might be your opportunity to invest more time into what you enjoy. You might also want to look into your hobby and get help on how you can turn your passion into your profit.
Use this time to find what you enjoy. What activities give you happiness after tiredness? What gives you a sense of worth instead of worry? What is it that makes you feel as if you have done what you are born to do? This is the time to look inward to your heart and find that thing. I’m sure that thing is coming to mind again now. Listen to your heart.
Take advantage of the government shutdown to locate where you are most productive
One of the best indicators that you are ready to change your work life for your life work is when you know that you are no more making a significant contribution on your job. If you stay long on that job, you will start getting irritated, frustrated, and disappointed.
Take advantage the government shutdown to find your place of purpose, this is where you get the greatest results from your effort, because you are like fish in water—you are in your element, and you are in your zone. Where you are most productive is where you are most effective. If you are not capable and competent to accomplish great results where you are right now or you are not making a significant contribution on your job, use this time to reflect on where can be most productive.
Make sure that you are not productive doing the wrong thing because there is nothing more frustrating, as Thomas Merton said, than spending your whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find, after reaching the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
Take advantage of the government shutdown to know what irritates you
The things that extremely annoy you or gets on your nerves may be things you need to do something about. What infuriates you may be an indication of what you are wired to be sensitive to—don’t ignore your exasperations and don’t be surprised if others are not as concerned as you are.
You can find your passion and your purpose when you see things you can’t stand, things you feel a strong desire to solve. What problems catch your attention as you drive down the streets? What behaviors do you feel strongly that somebody should do something about? What products do you feel are missing some key features, services that you think could be better if rendered in a particular way.
Sometimes, what irritates you has nothing to do with your training; it has to do with your wiring. Don’t be angry that you are angry. It might be for a purpose; it might be your purpose; do something about it!
Take advantage of the government shutdown to think about your legacy
If you want to be remembered for what you are doing on your job right now, by all means, continue to do it. But if you know you want to be remembered for something else besides your current job, then you want to take some time out to think through what you want people to remember you for when you exit this world—your legacy.
Your legacy is what you leave behind for the generation after you. It is the way you will be defined when you die. It is what people will say when they are reading the eulogy at your funeral—if they tell the truth.
Dr. John Maxwell is a leadership guru, Google is known for information search and retrieval, Michael Jordan is retired but still a name in the world of Basketball, Mandela is synonymous with sacrifice, Martin Luther King Jr. symbolizes a dream, Mother Teresa comes to mind when you think hospitality, Steve Jobs is an icon for innovation, Warren Buffet is a brand in the world of investing, and Tiger Woods has become synonymous with golf.
“What do you want to come to peoples’ minds when your name or your organization is mentioned?” This is worth thinking about and could save your brand or your business from investing your time, energy, and resources into activites that have no bearing on your purpose.
Take this time to look far into the future and imagine your family, loved ones, colleagues, and people you have met in your lifetime having a meeting to deliberate on what to inscribe on your tombstone. What would you want them to inscribe there? What is that one word, phrase, or sentence that they will all agree to inscribe on your tombstone? If you don’t know this, or you are still trying to figure out what you want people to say about you when you exit this world, I suggest you spend sufficient time thinking about this, because it will help you more than anything else.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you will leave a legacy one day; you are already leaving your legacy by how you live each and every day of your life, where and how you spend your time, and what spend your resources time and money on.
The government has shut down; it is time for you to restart.