Why your work matters, even in the midst of drudgery, monotony, or rejection.

August 31, 2017

Donny Zavala

When my sister was doing volunteer work in Argentina for a year and a half, she got lice. Twice. And she has the bushiest, hermione-est hair you can imagine. Beautiful, curly, thick. She cried when she had to comb through that head and get all of the eggs out. And then she cried again the second time. 

I felt so bad when she would email my family about it. Especially since she felt like she wasn’t even able to go do the volunteer work she came there to do because she had to take care of her head.

She felt like she wasn’t doing enough. Wasn’t making any difference.

But you know what I realized as I kept reading her emails? That even when she wasn’t able to do her volunteer work (and even when she was), I felt inspired by what she was doing. Goodness, she was teaching, loving, and serving every day. It’s no small feat to be there physically, mentally, emotionally each day. And just by being there and volunteering, she was having an impact on me, my family, and all of our friends for good. A lot more than she probably knows. I wanted to do more to help the people around me. I wanted their lives to be a littler easier. Even when she accidentally got some of the lice-removal chemical in her eye and had an infected, puffy eye that wouldn’t open for a couple of days, I was still inspired.

As I’ve been talking with other artists and business owners about their future, I always ask them what their dream life would look like and then I ask how this kind of success would affect their family, their circle of friends, and beyond.

I think it’s probably my fault in the way I word the questions, but a lot of times the artist I’m talking to assures me that people are supportive and will let her do her thing. I get it. I felt that way too. I was so focused on being able to support my family.

But what I’m feeling stronger and stronger every day is that we can do more in our businesses than think about our success in impacting our clients and ourselves (even though those things are awesome and important). What we build impacts more than our income and how we spend our time.

So the real question is: how can we build our businesses to prepare for that kind of impact? What can we do now and later to inspire and contribute? 

With everything I am (I know I sound dramatic but I’m also serious), I want to know what that is for you. Email me or tell me on Instagram. I am so interested.

For me for starters, I want to help women feel confident in their skills and talents. I want us all to feel like our contributions matter. I want us all to donate generously to the causes we feel deeply about. I want us all to cultivate an ability to carve a path between all of the “shoulds” of womanhood and motherhood and businesshood and create something that really matters.

I’m fighting for it. 

And if it sometimes takes combing lice out of hair for hours on end (or the equivalent in your life), there is goodness, hope, and light happening around us.

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