In my grownup job as an accounting manager, I visit different websites or otherwise take advantage of various professional publications in order to both keep my professional edge and, hopefully, get information about the economy, world politics and business in general that isn’t colored by the corporate-approved bias of the various talking heads in the media.  Some items interest me more than others, which I suppose is the same with most anyone.

One of the types of articles I never had much interest in have been what I refer to as the “rah-rah” pieces.  It has usually been my standpoint that if you can’t be motivated about what you’re doing it is time to be doing something else.  On the flip side,  I disdain the idea that I have to be perpetually “excited!!!!!!” about what I’m doing.  It just clashes with my somewhat Taoist way of dealing with life.

Recently, though, I came across an article that dealt with “Crafting Your Personal Core Purpose Statement.”  Again, this clashes with my views as to what I do and why I do it in the workplace but included in the article were the six questions you were to answer that were to help you shape your purpose statement:

*What things motivate me to get up and get out of bed every morning?

*In what ways am I of the greatest service to others?

*What things bring me happiness and contentment?

*What things do I find most fulfilling?

*On what would I spend my time, talents and attention if I didn’t have to work?

*At the end of my life, what things will make me smile when I look back?

These are really good questions.  The answers to many of them are answered “my family”.  Simply put, there is nothing on this earth that I enjoy more that being surrounded by the wife, kids and grandkids.  Those are my greatest moments, period.  That last question, though, has some bearing to something a dojo mate of mine and I did a few weeks ago.

Our sister dojo in Florida has an annual ritual on the Sunday morning closest to the anniversary of their opening.  At sunrise, they meet on the nearby beach for a two hour workout in the surf.  Its a great way for them to celebrate, to get in a workout that is far different from the flat, stable dojo floor and have fun in a less-rigid setting (i.e. tossing their sensei into the surf).

After reading about last year’s event and seeing the pictures they posted, a plan was hatched.  We would invade.  Operation Sand Crab was born.

It was a simple plan.  We would leave St Louis in a rented vehicle, drive in a straight shot to Florida and stay overnight at the residence of our “mole”.  The next morning, we donned our disguises and were dropped off about two hundred yards up the beach from where everyone was assembling and warming up.

Because it just wouldn’t do to simply show up……….

 Now imagine…..  You’re part of a group enjoying a nice little get-together on the beach and off in the distance, in the semi-darkness of dawn, these two characters are slowly but surely walking directly toward your group.  Fishermen stop fishing to watch you go by.  The parents that are there to watch the proceedings stop talking in mid-sentence.  The children in the group stare at first but slowly start easing their way behind the black belts.  The dark-clad individuals walk directly up to the group and stand there, unmoving.  Noticing that the sensei was on the other side of the crowd they walk around the perimeter of the assembly and take up their position directly in front of him, again taking an unmoving stance.  This is to say the least, unusual.  The group is unsure what is going on or how to respond.

The tension is then broken when these invaders do a deep bow and come up in the “Tiger Claw” salute (I will leave it to you to look up “Enter The Dojo” if you’re unfamiliar with the “Tiger Claw”.  You won’t be disappointed.)  They then unmask, yelling first “Surprise!!” and then, “Happy Anniversary!!”  Shouts and squeals erupt.  Handshakes and hugs are exchanged.

Then we enjoyed a great two hour workout.

This is where the business person separates from the human being.  It just isn’t “sensible” or “good business” to spend money on outfits you likely will wear only once, rent a vehicle, drive 14 1/2 hours each way, virtually nonstop, live on gas-station snack food, etc. for the sake of creating your own little surprise party.

Every once in a while, though, it does the soul good to do something, not because it’s sensible or good business, but just for the beautiful, pure, sweet hell of it.

So let’s revisit a few of those six questions………….

*What things bring me happiness and contentment?

*On what would I spend my time, talents and attention if I didn’t have to work?

*At the end of my life, what things will make me smile when I look back?

Now look at the faces in the picture.  This will be very high on the list.

“At the end of my life, what things will make me smile when I look back?”