What is your essential service?

self care sunday May 23, 2020

Hey what’s up guys. I want to talk to you today about your essential service. These days, we are rightfully shining the spotlight of gratitude on workers who are helping our businesses adjust to the COVID19 outbreak. But in my opinion, that doesn’t mean that other jobs aren’t essential.

Language is a tricky thing. Across the US, nurses and grocery store workers were uniformly deemed by governments as “essential”. But other professions like real estate agents were not considered essential in every state. Using the word essential this way has bothered me for a while. I understand why it was used but it just doesn't feel right for any government to classify certain people as essential and others not.  

Before you get carried away, I’m not saying we don’t need to work to keep people healthy. It’s the word essential I’m wrestling with here. You see, when I’m coaching people, one of the most important things we work on is getting extremely clear on the individual’s big why or their purpose for being in business. For some people it can be incredibly challenging to acknowledge (and then fully own) their big why, even when we’re not dealing with a pandemic.

So I was inspired when, in Oprah’s recent message to 2020 graduates, I heard her ask, 'What’s your essential service is to the world?'".

Asking powerful questions is “essential” to a career in sales because questions can move things forward. What I liked most about this question is that it can help us think deeply about our purpose in the world and about how we wish to serve. Truth be told, every job is essential, because everything and everyone is connected.

Restaurant workers, like servers and bartenders, weren’t deemed by the government as essential but the local owners where I live who have been hustling and bringing meals to our door so Jon and I can have date night on Friday are, to us, essential. We get to have some sense of routine because the restaurant owners adjusted. I’m as grateful to them as I am to the grocery store clerk. And that’s just one example.

Right now is the perfect time for all of us to think about our essential service to the world. It’s another way to get clarity on our big why and maybe if we look at it from this angle, we’ll connect to the deeper impact our work has in the world.

Here’s a key: your essential service isn’t about what you do, it’s about the people you serve. So this week, think about how you would define your essential service. And if you already know, drop it in the comments below. You many just help someone who’s stuck define theirs. What I know for sure, is that you don’t need a government to deem your work essential. There’s someone out there who already considers you essential and they are counting on you to show up.

Now let's go think bigger this week!

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