Last week my wife drove to Massachusetts to attend the funeral of her friend, Tony. Colette and Tony became friends when they were 13. They lived in the same neighborhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, which is the town that the movie The Fighter took place.
After high school graduation, Tony joined the Navy and entered Boot Camp. After completing Boot Camp, he went on a 15-day release and went home to Lowell to see family and friends.
The first night of his vacation, Tony was involved in a car accident. The damage was so bad, he lost all function from the neck down. He would not be returning the Navy because on the first night of his first release, Tony had become a quadriplegic.
Tony had to learn to live a new life. He learned to live alone and bought a home and even bought a van made for quadriplegics. But for as much as he lived in his house, he lived at the hospital.
Tony often spent years at a time in the hospital. Yes, years. And this is how Tony’s life went. We would visit him when we visited Colette’s family, and most often it was at the hospital.
Until it seemed he would never return home. Then Tony’s mother sold it for him six months before he died.
The group that gathered for the funeral was sparse. People tend to lose track of someone like Tony. At the funeral, attendees could say a word about Tony, and only three people did—Tony’s priest and his nurse and my wife.
But it’s what the priest said about Tony that I want you to know.
He said that in all the times he visited Tony, he never heard Tony complain. Not when Tony had to head back to the hospital, not during all the Christmases he spent there, not when his friends were getting married and having children and getting jobs and going on vacation.
Not when Tony faced daily pain unknown by most of us. If anyone had reason to complain, it was Tony. But instead Tony set his mind on living the fullest life he could, wherever he was. Use of legs or not, arms or not, home or not.
I would suggest we do the same. I suggest we set our minds on living the fullest lives we can, wherever we are.
In order to do this, we’ve got to think about the workplace.
After all, we’ll spend more waking hours with our coworkers than our loved ones, and more waking hours working than doing anything else.
We’ll introduce ourselves by the work we do more often than we’ll introduce ourselves by another identifier. We’ll let work affect our sense of self, dignity, and accomplishment. And we’ll bring our work into our family and personal lives more than we might intend to.
One of my favorite movies is Gladiator. Just before starting a battle, Maximus says to his men, “What we do in life…echoes in eternity.” I suggest that what we do at work, echoes at home.
You see, work is not just about work. If we want to live the fullest life we know how, we have to think about the workplace, which is why at my workplaces, EnergyCAP, Inc. and Munyay, we launched ROSTER(R).
ROSTER is an employee success program that operates under the premise that motivated and engaged employees live a fuller life all around than unmotivated and disengaged ones. The research confirms this.
Engaged employees report higher quality of life, more positive interactions with coworkers, higher quality work, and heightened productivity, and more. In order to foster engagement, ROSTER targets six areas and answers six questions:
Role: What purpose are you expected to fill?
Outcomes: What results are you expected to produce?
Strengths: What are your means for making contributions?
Transformation: How will you grow in meaningful ways?
Engagement: How engaged are you at work?
Recognition: How will you be recognized for your contribution?
I don’t think this vision is too grand for the workplace. Not when you spend more waking hours working than doing anything else. Who you’re supposed to become is too important to leave out of the workplace. There’s not enough time and intention elsewhere to make you into the person you can be.
The workplace must be a force in your transformation, so you can live the fullest life you can.
What if the workplace was as much about pouring into you as it was about your output, so you could then overflow into the other parts of your life?
What if you went home knowing more about yourself so you could be a more effective spouse, partner, parent? What you do at work echoes at home.
What if you went home having resolved conflict at work so you could use those skills to resolve conflict at home? What you do at work echoes at home.
What if you went home feeling renewed and revitalized so you could be more present at home. What you do at work echoes at home.
The hope of your transformation is not too grand an expectation for the workplace.
Tony’s life teaches us that none of us knows what our days will hold, how many we have or what may happen in them. However, what we do have is now. And for now, the workplace can hold great opportunity to perform your role, and produce great outcomes, and use your powerful strengths. The workplace can be a force of your transformation and your individual becoming.
What you do at work echoes at home.
If you’re ready to live your best life ever, download our FREE Align Your Life Inventory: A Quick Check-Up with God: Align Your Life

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