The work is rarely the most entertaining or compelling, thing.
The result of the work is a lot more compelling—good, bad, ugly, or indifferent.
The process is rarely envied.
The result of the work—the sausage, such as it were—is delicious on the plate, and worthy of being enjoyed. And sometimes, people are envious of the outcome.
The potential to experience emotional pain, public (or private) embarrassment, and even failure is so strong that people seek all kinds of shortcuts to avoid experiencing any of those potential outcomes.
But experiencing those outcomes, many times is the work.
Here is a partial (but not all inclusive) list of actions that compose the work. As in all cases, your mileage (and experiences) may vary:
Patience is work.
Resiliency is work.
Accepting outcomes is work.
Knowing where to put your focus (and why), is work.
Showing up every day, even when you don’t feel like it, is work.
Being responsible when a project, idea, or position you championed doesn’t work, is work.
Ruthlessly eliminating hurry in the short-term, to accomplish larger lifetime goals in the long-term, is work.
Having the courage, clarity, and candor to speak up about what is working and what isn’t, is work.
Engaging with people we don’t personally (or professionally) like without rancor, to accomplish goals greater than ourselves, is work.
Knowing when to quit, what to quit, and how to quit, is work.
Figuring out the right questions to ask, in the right way, to the right people, and then hearing the answers, is work.
Realizing that the work is on the line, but that you as a person are not, is work.
Raising expectations with the idea of fulfilling them, rather than using them as leverage against the other party in a conversation, or conflict, is work.
Seeing the end goal of a project, and realizing that persuasion of other people is the number one thing to accomplish to get there, is work.
Being intentional about your actions, whether in a conflict process, a project process, or a goal oriented process, is work.
Knowing yourself and what you are capable of (and what your limitations are), is work.
Understanding when to stop working, is work.
Doing any, and all, of these things in public, doesn’t make for a compelling or entertaining process to view from the outside.
And in a post-Industrial society, that values entertainment above all else, knowing what’s truly compelling, and talking, writing, and entertaining about that, is work.
Increasingly, it may be part of the only work that matters.