Your Life’s Work

David wrote a great post about what’s important in life. But what affected me is the PS at the end of the post:

“My life’s work is Basecamp.”

Such a profound statement. In recent years Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals) has focused their efforts on their collaboration software, so much so that they changed their company’s name to match it. It’s been inspiring to hear Basecamp leaders really focus in on this one product, and making it great for years to come, a rare tact in the crazy startup world.

When we’re young, it feels like our “life’s work” lies somewhere out there. Somewhere else, sometime in the future. Yet at some point, after all the experimenting and stumbling, learning and growing, we’ll look around and say, “hey, this is my life’s work”.

Have you started on yours yet?

David’s been working on his for 12 years. When he stands up and points to identifies his life’s work, it shows his pride and satisfaction with what he’s built. Obviously, it’s easier to point to your life’s work when it’s successful. I don’t imagine they heard “Sugar Man” Rodriguez pointing to his failed records as his life’s work at the time.

Most of us won’t have one web app to show for our work on this planet. Our life’s work might be our family, a program, an idea, a long lineup of people we’ve served. We might not be considered successful, but whatever we pour our energy into today will become our life’s work, whether you’re proud of it or not.

Todd Henry’s book along these lines, Die Empty, points to our challenge and opportunity as we seek to create a life’s work we can be proud of:

“The seeds of tomorrow’s brilliance are planted in the soil of today’s activity.”

Carry on.