How excited are you about your job? Watch this recent clip of Boston weather reporter Jim Cantore experiencing repeated strikes of “thundersnow” and you’ll see an adult expressing childlike zeal about his job assignment in a way that can’t help but make you smile. How often does a Weather Channel segment go viral like this one has?
I’d never even heard of “thundersnow,” and I know nothing about being a meteorologist, but I sure want to have whatever this man is having. While it’s possible that all the white powder falling around Cantore inspired what one might call a weathergasm, I have a sense it was something else: passion, purpose and playfulness about what he does for a living.
It was absolutely freezing in Boston that evening, as it has been for weeks, and here this reporter was leaping up and down, exclaiming he wouldn’t trade in this moment for a $500 million lottery win. Was he exaggerating? Of course. Yet he’s inviting us to do what amounts to the same exercise my mother, may her memory be a blessing, used to do whenever our family (six brothers and wives plus grandchildren) got together. She’d ask: If someone gave you $10 million so you could pursue any career path you wanted, with no need to make a dime, what would you work on? If our answer was completely different from what we were doing, then we needed to at least ask ourselves why.
Presumably, there are many days when Jim Cantore feels his profession is mundane. Not every day brings thundersnow. Not every day do we get to say, “OMG!” about our work. But pursuing a path or an idea that we’re passionate, purposeful, and playful about – one that makes us jump out of bed in the morning and keeps us up at night – drives us to become the very best we can be, and helps us keep going. We need that passion when, inevitably, things don’t go our way, or even when everything seems to be falling apart.
Contrary to what we find in many self-help books, I believe there’s no guarantee or cause-and-effect between our attitude about our career and achieving financial success. Many things – from really hard work, to teachers and mentors, to random luck – play a part in our financial growth. But there’s certainly a relationship between the passion, purpose and playfulness we bring to our jobs and our energy, creativity, perseverance, ability to inspire others and our happiness – all of which surely contribute to our success.
When we think of this meteorologist’s caught-on-camera joy, might we all bring passion, purpose, and play to the game of making a living? Then we’ll have the best shot of having a life.
Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President Emeritus of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.