A Labor of Love

I was skype-chatting the other day with Hoda Maloof, a colleague in Beirut, about the US holiday week-end.

Labor Day? she asked. Isn’t that celebrated sometime in May?

Yes, Labor Day has been a uniquely American ritual since 1894. The rest of the world celebrates the socialist-inspired International Workers Day in May. In the US, we tend to honor the economic and social contributions of workers with a host of supremely American traditions: Parades. Barbeques. And for some folks, shopping like there is no tomorrow.

Mostly, we celebrate Labor Day by not working.

But on Tuesday we’re right back at work.

So how will you and I celebrate work while we’re actually back at work, working?

I had to ponder this question a good bit last week. I was in a wistful mood. Keenly aware that my languid August days were coming to an end. August has meant fluid hours and leisurely meetings with my team and lots of spontaneous social activity and daily jaunts to the beach.

I leap into a hyper-active fall. The airplane will be my friend. Los Angeles/Geneva/New York/Paris. And that’s merely September.

Yes, I was feeling wistful. I did not want August to end.

And then I remembered the phrase a labor of love. Exquisite, isn’t it? The words so beautifully connote the depth of engagement you and I can bring to the work we do.

When we’re fully committed. When we’re at our best. When we choose to.

Truth is, I do so enjoy the work I do. But I still need to decide, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, to turn it into a labor of love.

Easier to do with the “sexy and fun” tasks. Not as easy to do with the chores, I know. But we don’t have to love a task to turn into a labor of love.

A labor of love – any labor of love – doesn’t just kinda, sorta of happen. It becomes a labor of love because I choose to make it so. It starts with a decision. Simple.

During this Labor Day week, as you roll out of bed in the morning and face the work that awaits you each day, consider: How will I make what I need to do today a labor of love? 

And notice how the moment you decide, the experience of your work is instantly transformed.