Chapter SixCreating Inspiration

Figure depicting a pyramid, where the top layer denoting 'Meaning' that creates inspiration.

In the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you've had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.

Jim Collins, Good to Great1

Are you fortunate enough to have found your calling? Was there a moment that spoke to you, saying, “Wake up, this is why you're here on Earth!”? I found my calling by observing someone else live out hers.

I spent a few months of college studying in the English countryside. During one particular break from school, I traveled over to Germany and spent a few days hitchhiking. While in the Black Forest region, I contracted a digestive bug that hit me like a ton of bricks. Fortunately, I flagged down a driver (not easy on the autobahn) who took me to the nearest town and deposited me into a three-room bed-and-breakfast down a secluded alleyway. I knew absolutely no German. Maria, the innkeeper, knew very little English, but she easily recognized my international signal of distress: cold sweats and a need to rush to the nearest bathroom.

Without ...

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