By Liese Gardner
If you didn’t have to work, what would you do? I had a friend that used to say he’s too busy making a living to get rich. It’s true that sometimes just taking care of every day business can stunt our creativity and eat up all our time. And so I’m inspired by those people who work even when they don’t have to. Their life’s work is precisely that.
In the last couple of weeks the stories of several people have intersected in my mind and stayed with me. The first was that of Richard LoGuercio, owner of Town & Country Event Rentals in Los Angeles. He built up Classic Party Rentals for 20 years, then sold it. During the five years he couldn’t work in this industy he longed to get back to it. When he did, he opened Town & Country and has proceeded to compete successfully with Classic on a local level.
Richard LoGuercio accepting Hall of Fame Award. Stage by AOO Events. Photo: Brightroom Event Photography
At BizBash West this month, when he received the Hall of Fame Award, Richard imparted advice based on what he’d come to learn about himself during those five years off – “Don’t ever retire. Do what you love until you drop.”
Then last weekend, I read two articles that continued in this same vein. The first was a story in the Los Angeles Times on the “titans of tech” in the Silicon Valley; those people who have come into great wealth through selling their first, and maybe even their second tech start-ups. Yet, their lifestyle has changed very little. Many continue to live in the same apartments and drive the same cars as before and all of them continue to work long hours on their next start up ventures. They donate a lot of money and yet several mentioned that they feel they don’t sacrifice enough.
In fact, on his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg has famously cited living a minimalist life and eliminating desire as his goals.
It’s clear that these people are about the work they do, not the money they make.
The very same day in the New York Times I read a story about Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton and heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune. She has spent the past decade of her life developing Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a world-class museum in the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas where Wal-Mart was founded.
The model of Crystal Bridges, slated to open in September
She told the Times, “For years I’ve been thinking of what we could do as a family to make a difference in this part of the world.” And then for years, she’s been making it happen. But all great work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. “We want to share, we want to borrow, we want to loan, we want to have active partnerships with museums worldwide,” Walton says.
Zuckerberg wants to live minimally and without desire. Alice Walton wants to live to build, create and share great art. Richard LoGuercio wants to live simply for the joy of doing events. These are happy people because they are doing the work they feel they were born to do. What were you born to do? Only you know in your heart. As author Marianne Williamson says, “Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don’t see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself.”
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