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Your work is changing you

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I learned to drive in the suburbs. We had the luxury of big wide roads, light traffic, and enormous parking lots where if you wanted a spacious drive-through spot in the back corner, you could have it.

Then I didn’t drive for a decade. School in a different city, no money, no car, no need.

The set-up

A few years back I moved to an urban neighborhood. It was settled at the turn of the century, features 16 foot wide lots and has narrow streets and lane-ways built for… um…  horses? I don’t know, I just know it’s now choked with too many vehicles.

Then, for four months of the year, mother nature introduces snow. So the narrow streets get narrower with massive snowbanks on either side. I’ve seen vehicles get lost under there more than once.

Change is uncomfortable

So, it’s busy. Cars come straight towards you and pass close enough to touch. And on top of starting off with very basic driving skills, my spatial awareness is the worst. I’m the person who has trouble retracing my steps back to the elevator.

It’s my driving nightmare. It’s the reason my children, cuddled safely into their carseats and listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram (classics!), know about profanity. Because sometimes, my anxiety comes out that way.

But this winter I’ve noticed the drivers have become friendlier. Or maybe it’s not that they’ve changed, it’s just that I’ve started noticing them. Because it’s my third winter driving here and my thoughts are slowly evolving away from just “CAR – NO!! -CAR COMING” when I turn down one of these ridiculously narrow streets.

Now, we wave. We get strategic about tucking into little nooks where we can, letting each other pass safely. We assess and make the best decisions for the collective. We try to keep everyone panic free.

And then you’re different

I’m an urban driver now. Because I’ve been hacking it out here for three years, exposing myself to actual terror again and again each time I want to drive somewhere, and FINALLY, I’m able to do it mostly calmly.

I’m different, and I didn’t do anything except show up. That’s how powerful random external forces are in shaping us.

What is work?

So far we’ve talked about work as a pastime and work as an energetic contract. Here’s a third: work as a catalyst. Whether it’s a your physical environment or the people you’re exposed to or the actual work you’re doing day to day, WORK is changing you.

Every day you come to work and work gets to work on YOU.

Every day you are becoming more of something and less of something else, because of the influence of your work.

Work plays a massive role in how you’re changing.

Here’s today’s public service announcement, friends: choose your work wisely.

Up next in the What is Work? series: A Legacy (what you leave when you walk away). This blog publishes every Friday. To get notified, hop on THIS LIST. For daily career & life inspiration, say hi & follow HERE.

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