The Nidaros Cathedral dominates the city of Trondheim in Norway. Construction began in 1070 for this cathedral dedicated to St. Olaf, Norway’s patron saint. It became one of the main destinations for Christian pilgrims in the middle ages.
When I visited Trondheim, what impressed me about the cathedral is the detail of the façade. It’s hard to imagine the hours of work, over decades, that went into the details.
What motivated the workers?
It reminded me of a story often told by motivational speakers. It goes like this: A consultant visits a construction site and interviews the workers. He talks with three bricklayers who seem to be doing the same job. He asks each of them to describe what his job is. He gets three very different answers.
The first worker says gruffly, “I’m laying bricks” and goes back to his job.
The second worker says, “I’m building a church.” With pride, he describes the size and dimensions of the planned structure.
The third worker lays down his tools, looks skyward, and says softly, “I’m building a cathedral to glorify God.”
Three different motivations.
One is motivated solely by the paycheck at the end of the week.
One is motivated by being part of a bigger project that allows him to use his skills for the benefit of his client.
One is motivated by something bigger, something that has deep meaning for him.
What’s your motivation for what you do?
How do you describe what you do when you are asked?
Does your description reflect the meaning your work has for you?