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The Work Works On You.

When I was a kid, I remember watching my dad work so hard. He was an incredible worker. He would be out before the sun came up and back in long after the moon had said hello.

He has an incredible work ethic. His ability to do the task at hand was super human at worst. As I got older, it was super annoying. I would go help out with my big brother and our dad would run circles around us. We had both succumbed to white collar work that required focused effort but not the physical and mental like our dad.

He would be walking across trusses building a barn, basically single handedly while we were running reports or teaching music.

But what I remember from my childhood now is that though my dad was the hardest worker I have ever seen, the work worked on him. It both maintained his body and hurt it. It gave him new skills while perfecting old ones. It created new obstacles, new challenges and foiled old ones. As he grew, the work grew.

Then one day, he didn't go quite as fast as he use to. He didn't quite go out with the sun and back with the moon. Call it age, but I think the work made him more efficient. It grew his decision making and taught him where is efforts are best served.

It revealed what is truly good work and what is work that is just work.

The work works on us as much as we work on the work. It beckons us to be better than we were to get where we are going. It calls all of our attention to push a ball that is so heavy, so wide, so tall forward in any meaningful direction.

I think sometimes we get so use to just doing, we never stop to realize that the ball we were trying to push forward is just sitting still instead of moving forward. We stop actually working and just work.

My dad is a great example of a human that worked on purpose. It wasn't always in the ways he wished it were but he never just did stuff to do stuff. He always led with purpose and that drive rubbed off on me.

I work very hard, but for a long time I just worked to work and the work stopped working on me and started to hurt me.

I wasn't working on purpose, I was just doing.

What I know now is this.

I have achieved goals that I said would make me happy already. Yet I still strive. Why?

Because I am made to work, not to achieve. I am made to show up with purpose. To slay dragons. To defeat bosses. To make a way for others to do the same. My dad taught me how to show up and do the job at hand no matter how much it sucked.

I think to often we idolize what the work is instead of just doing the work. When I look back on the busiest times of my life, I see a man who was hurried, in fact my mom wrote a song about it, it's a good one too. She saw what I now see looking back. A man who was every direction, not a direction. A man who came up with the sun and went back with the moon but without purpose. All purpose = zero purpose.

I compare that to who I am today. The work I have has a large spot in my calendar, but it is in one direction, for one purpose and the work it does on me is refining.

It is not a perfect work. There are so many other industries that would far out pace and pay than the music industry. There are far better returns on so many other formats, but this work. This work calls me. It calls me to be the very best of me every day. When I am not, I feel it. Those are the bad days. When I am who the work needs me to be, those are days I feel alive and on purpose.

The funny thing is. I am certain my dad, walking across trusses raising a massive pull barn on his own, had doubts if he could complete it but did it anyway. I am sure when he sat upon his John Deere 4440 for the first time on a farm he had worked for his whole life with his dad, on his own, had doubts. But the work, worked on him like it worked on me.

We have all achieved goals we said would make us happy, but it's the purpose in the work we do or the purpose that we make it powerful and useful.

We have a choice every day to make the work, work us or the work, work us.

I choose the path of growth. This is what we try to impart on our students, our instructors and our community.

There is no perfect opportunity, there is no perfect time, there is no perfect circumstance, life is messy, it is painful and it is not guaranteed.The work we choose works on us, for us and can give us a deep sense of meaning in the most mundane of tasks when we show up for it.

How do you show up for the work?


Zack Schuyler

VP of Student Experience


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