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Making a living or making a life?

hester 600Today's employers are not looking for people who want to work to make a living, they are looking for people who, more importantly, want to make a life.

Consider our parents and our grandparents and how they were able to do so much with so little for so long. They knew the difference between making a living and making a life. While it may seem like purely a matter of semantics, believe me, it's more than just a play on words.

Knowing which you are focused on can make the difference.

Making a living focuses on acquiring and managing material resources. The majority of your time, energy and talent(s) are focused on just that; satisfying your basic material needs and the gratification that comes with it; making a living. You are constantly in survival mood. Food, clothing, shelter, and the other fundamentals are all that matter.

8ewingWhen you have more resources, you simply survive at a higher level. You might live "better," but your focus is still on making a living. You may wear nicer work clothes, drive a more expensive car, live in a more affluent neighborhood or send your children to superior schools, but your focus is still on making a living. The more tools you have in your money-making toolkit, ideally, the more money you can make. However, you make money as part of moving toward your goal, which has not changed: to make a living.

Making a life, on the other hand, most certainly involves making a living, but making a living is not the end goal. It is rather one of many means toward another end, and not an end in itself. Making a life is the goal.

If you've ever heard local entrepreneur Charles L. Ewing Sr., founder, CEO and President of Ewing Moving, tell his story, then you can visualize what I mean.

Ewing started in maintenance at a local publishing copy, but was determined to move up in the company so that he could own his own business one day. At a time when race was a barrier and nobody of his race had ever done what he proposed to do, he stuck to his guns and did the unthinkable: he succeeded.

With perseverance and persistence, Ewing bought one truck to work with through his credit union even though his co-workers told him it could not be done. He then bought another, and the rest, as they say, is history.

If Abraham Maslow can be believed, and I think to some degree he can, the person intent on building a life (such as Ewing) is the person moving toward "self-actualization." In Maslow's classic Hierarchy of Needs, the self-actualized person is a critical thinker, a creative problem solver, lacks prejudices and is thus great at collaboration, and is grounded in the here and now-ness of any situation.

These are the people employers want to hire. These are the tools needed for a global workforce.

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