How to love what you do?

Life is a long lesson in humility.

During a recent trip to Louisville I had the pleasure of meeting a man who has shined shoes for 20 years. 20 years that’s a long time shining shoes…

So I had to ask him, “how do you keep going after 20 years?” He said,” It’s simple, in the process of doing the work, I fell in love with it. Now, did I wake up one day and say to myself I want to start a shoe shining career for 20 years? No. What I did wake up one day thinking was I needed to find a job that gave me the flexibility to raise 2 daughters as a single dad. I talked to a few people and they said I should talk to Mr. Young and learn how to shine shoes. .

When I started I wasn’t that good, Heck, still to this day there are many people who do a better job than I do. But you know what I learned, in the beginning of most things it’s not always pretty. Sometimes you will doubt yourself and wonder if this what I should be doing. I did numerous days. Then Mr. Young told me, “sometimes it’s not that you aren’t doing something right, sometimes it’s that you haven’t been doing it right long enough!” give it time and one day the light bulb will come on and everything will click! So I just kept shining and one day everything just clicked! Even built a good living for myself. More importantly it allowed me to raise my kids.

“Kids? So what do your kids think about what you do?,” I asked.

“I have tried to get my son to shine shoes. Even brought him to the shoes shine stand for a day. At the end of the day he said to me, “Dad, you can make a good living shining shoes, But I will never do it. Because I watched how people looked down at you when you were shining their shoe and I cannot have people looking at me like that.”

“You know what I told my son? When you go to grocery store and hand them the money to pay for your grocery bill, do they ask, did you make this money shining shoes?

No, they take it and put it their cash register and say thank you!

Shining shoes isn’t glitzy but I love what I am doing. I truly do. You see you have to be grateful for what you have before you can have more. Each day I get to shine people shoes. Hear me on this.. Each day I GET to shine people shoes. Shining shoes allowed me to raise my two daughters. Each day you GET to do what you do! You have to be grateful for it. Because if you are not grateful how can you expect to be happy when you have more!

So not only did I get my shoes I learned 4 valuable life lessons.

  1. In process of doing something you might just fall in love with it.
  2. Give yourself time to master a craft. In the beginning of anything new you are going to stumble. Give yourself room to grow.
  3. Understand no matter the task it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to do it.
  4. Extra motivation is not always in the how or what you do. But in the WHY you do it.

In the process of doing the job I fell in love with the job!


Did this make an impact:? If so I invite you to share, like, comment.

Tony Jalan

Developing Leaders

Empower, Equip,Encourage,Educate

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