Changing diapers isn't a pleasant job, and yet we still do it.
Because we love our babies and want them to be healthy and happy.
As adults, we know that stinky jobs are often a necessary part of creating the life that we want.
But let's all stop for a minute.
Because there's a lot of crappy jobs we do without considering the cost.
Tasks we hate, hate, HATE, but force ourselves to do anyway.
Annie Rogaski knows exactly what I'm talking about.
She spent the first part of her law career conforming to the expectations of the firm where she worked.
She wasn't just doing jobs she disliked, she was hiding who she was.
“You went into court and you didn’t want to be different. You wanted everyone to see you as a lawyer and the standard for a lawyer was a man.” – Annie Rogaski
In order to succeed in the male-dominated field of Trademark and Patent Law, Annie thought she had to mask who she really was.
She spent all her days, nights, and weekends caught in the grind of high-stakes patent litigation.
Yes, she reached a high level of success, but it cost her happiness, authenticity and joy.
Annie wanted something better for her life.
When she admitted this to two of her friends, she found out that they felt the same.
So they tried something they called The Joy Experiment.
For one month they tracked what made them happy and what DIDN’T. Then they met again to compare notes.
They wanted more collaboration and less competition.
They wanted more time off with their families.
They wanted to wear clothing they actually liked.
They wanted to decide HOW to work—from where, and with whom.
They wanted to have more fun.
The results inspired them to start HIPLegal, a Law Firm where joy is the main focus of their work.
Now when they go on vacation, they REALLY go on vacation—covering for each other so they can actually take that time off, instead of working from their hotel.
And the best part about their new venture?
If any of them have something they truly despise doing (administration tasks—yuck!) they put it on the table and see if someone else wants to do it.
They call this trading un-joys.
In my Coaching Circle, we call this BARTERING. And it's a part of a power tool Martha Beck calls the 3 B's.
If you've been following me for awhile, you've already heard me talk about this. If you're new here, (or if you're still caught up in the rules of "HAVE TO" and "SHOULD") you'll want to lean in and pay attention.
Because "have tos" and "shoulds" are part of a dated model of thinking.
The 3 B's takes a more modern approach to a happier life:
BAG IT: There are many things we think we HAVE to do, that we really, really don't.
When something feels like an obligation or a dreaded task, ask yourself, "Can I just bag it?" If the answer is yes, throw that item into the trash, turn your back and walk away!
BARTER IT: If you truly can't bag an item on your to-do list, can you barter it? Can your trade your un-joy? There are people who LOVE to do the things we despise.
Get creative. PAY someone to do it if you need to.
Our society tends to think happiness comes from money. But research has shown that happiness actually comes from the freedom to control our TIME.
When you buy a thing, the joy lasts for . . . oh, about a minute.
But when you buy time?
You get an enduring sense of satisfaction because you're freeing yourself to do the things that matter most to you—which increases your energy and lightens your mood.
And there's another bonus.
When you spend your dollars on outsourcing, you help the economy. It's a WIN-WIN!
BETTER IT: When you truly, honestly can't bag, barter, or outsource an item, (it's gotta be done and it's gotta be done by YOU) then you can always choose to BETTER it.
Do it to music.
Do it with a friend.
If it's a physical job, listen to a podcast or audible book while you work.
Order in take-out.
Do it in a beautiful space (the beach, a gorgeous hotel, a quiet park).
Change your attitude about it by acknowledging you're CHOOSING to do it.
Just don't allow your task to steal your joy and zap your energy.
Keep noticing all the things that fill you up and start doing more of them.
Increase the activities that energize and excite you.
Make time for everything that's aligned with your purpose.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
And when a stinky (but necessary) job presents itself again, connect with your reason for doing it.
Then roll up your shirtsleeves, plug your nose . . .
And change that dirty diaper.
Sending you so much love,
Annie Rogaski is a successful Lawyer, Entrepreneur, Startup Exec and Podcaster. She co-founded a women-owned high-tech intellectual property law firm called HIP Legal and a women’s leadership organization called The Club. Annie is currently the general counsel at a mixed reality tech startup, Avegant, and the host and producer of Unraveling Pink, a podcast that tackles gender-based assumptions through honest conversations.