When is Work Not?

By Shya Kane

When is Work Not?

Blue Zonker Strip Flies

Blue Zonker strip flies

On a recent trip to Oregon, I wanted to pick up a few fly tying supplies before heading home to New Jersey. Ariel and I jumped into our rental car and went to Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters in Portland. As we stepped in the door of the shop, we were enthusiastically greeted.

“Can I help you? What are you looking for – I can help you find it!”

Normally a sales person standing directly in front of me, giving me no time or physical space to breathe would be extremely off putting, but in this case I took a breath and answered, “Yes, I am looking for blue rabbit zonker strips.”

“Over here,” he said.

Weaving his way through the racks of clothing the fellow led us directly to the display of materials we needed.

“Do you want regular or micro strips?” He asked.

“Regular.” I replied and he handed me a pack.

“Do you need any more purple marabou?” Ariel asked me.

Before I could answer, the guy picked up a package of purple feathers explaining, “Fish don’t see in the same way we do, so they don’t actually see the color purple so well. You should use dark blue instead.”

“I am tying steelhead flies,” I replied semi-distractedly as I held a couple of packages of the blue zonker strips, weighing in my mind if I needed both the royal blue and the navy.

“Oh, those are super easy to make,” he chattered on and he began to explain the steps.

Sensing my rhythm and desire to peruse the materials on my own, Ariel took over conversation.

“What’s your name?” Ariel asked.


“How long have you been working here?”

“Six years.”

“Wow – How old are you?”


Blayke behind counterBlayke, as it turns out, is the son of one of the fly shop employees. He was extremely knowledgeable about materials and where they were located in the store and about fly tying in general. He literally bubbled with enthusiasm and wanted to help. To him it wasn’t “work.” To him it was an ecstatic summer Thursday morning on the job. In fact, when I mentioned I might return the following day for additional supplies, Blayke said he would be more than happy to help me – only to be reminded by his dad that he was going on a family vacation the following day. He seemed disappointed to be going away.

Do you remember when you were enthusiastic like that? When you stayed awake, unable to sleep because you were so excited about the day ahead?

When did work become work? When did you get the idea that being at work is a chore and fun only happens when you have a day off or go on vacation?

Shya and BlaykeWhen you make the shift from being the victim of your life to the author of your life, you recreate the possibility for fun in everything you do. Instead of having to go to work you get to go to work. It becomes an opportunity for self-expression no matter what you are doing. But when you feel you are the victim and you have to go to work, even if you enjoy it, the complaint will still be there, robbing you of satisfaction.

The game is to realize that in truth, you have created your life exactly as it is – and now it’s up to you: do you get swept into the current of our cultural complaint thinking that you have to go to work or do you create your job as an opportunity for self-expression?

Fun happens when you are doing what you are doing as if it is your idea. Are you going to work tomorrow – why not have fun? Going to work really is your idea after all.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

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I really enjoyed this post. Thanks.

I was so touched by this post, and I loved the gorgeous pictures! Thank you Ariel and Shya!