Doing What You Love

The title of this post is near and dear to my heart.  I know that's not a surprise for many of you.

It's funny how things come full circle in life.  This piece from Marshall Goldsmith's blog is from an article he wrote for Fast Company a few years ago.  When I first read the piece, I was evaluating hard my future and whether what I was doing was a love affair.  I am pleased that I can bring it to you now. 

Marshall's words added much clarity to my journey.  I will be forever grateful.

Loving and Falling in Love

First, I'm not turning into a romance novelist.  But I am going to correlate romantic love with our work (the thing that is connected to our wiring).

I think a big problem with marriage and long-term relationships is the misconceived notion of what falling in love means.  There is a reason they call it "falling."  Falling implies a never-ending experience.  Unfortunately, we find ways to stop falling and then everything changes-for the worse. For example, I know people in relationships where they love each other.  But they're not in love anymore.  No pursuing, no ache, no shakes, and certainly no flowers.  They're together, but dead.

Does this sound like your work relationship?

Some out there may be thinking about refuting the above.  You might be thinking about how the warm and fuzzy does not last a lifetime.  You might be thinking that I don't know all the hurtful things he said.

I'm not writing this to make you feel bad about love gone wrong or shame you about a divorce.  All I'm saying is that to sustain "falling in love" you must make a decision and manage it accordingly.  Sometimes it will be effortless and sometimes it will feel like its killing you.  But either way you have a decision to make. 

So make it.

Here are some tips on staying "in love" with your work:

  • Stop and ask yourself why you're spending 50+ hours doing what you do.  Scot Herrick has a great post on how career management is about your dream.
  • Stop thinking that your work will make you happy.  If you're expecting it to make you happy, you'll quit when failure comes.
  • Start thinking like an entrepreneur and not an employee.  You need to see the true value of what you do, and entrepreneurss understand this.
  • Stop hanging with the pessimists.  These are the people that are always talking about the impending doom on the horizon.
  • Staying "in love" leads to a great life.
  • Do something different today.  Surprise your work with a new approach.
  • Stay a learner.  Learning won't let you fall out of love.

Good News vs. Bad News

Do managers have a problem with hearing bad news?  I know you're chuckling right now. But they really should welcome bad news with open arms. 

Bad news can do the following if we let it:

  • Sober us up and give us a sense of reality – We crave and worship good news because we see it as the only thing to make us happy.  If you've read my blog before, you know how I feel about happiness-it's based on a choice that only you can make.
  • Help us understand who is really interested in making things better – those who like to kiss ass won't be comfortable here.  People who only deliver good news are not helping.  Leaders who only want followers who deliver good news are drinking a poisonous cocktail.
  • Help us discover our true leadership level – if you want to know how good a leader is, observe and take notes when bad news is delivered.
  • Makes us question silence – a friend of mine gave his employer some bad news about a new customer and was cautioned about it.  Don't know if they didn't like his tone or timing, but his employer didn't want to hear it.  It made me think about all those employees that don't say anything.  What do you think their level of engagement is?
  • Helps us find the next breakthrough – isn't that what all organizations want?

Watch Out for the Blocks

Spoke last week to a group about blocks to their spiritual journey.  It made some uncomfortable, and that was a good thing.  Discomfort can cause one to think harder about things that comfort allows you to ignore.

Have you thought about your blocks, specifically those in your career? 

I don't recommend focusing too much attention on blocks, but managing and eliminating, so you're best can come thru, is the wisest approach.  Blocks are there to be dealt with.  I'm amazed at how often they're allowed to take on roots in our career garden.

Here are some "blocks" that can be very detrimental as you navigate your career:

  1. Insecurities – these are dangerous because we often agree with them in our minds and hearts.
  2. Comfort- it creates a false sense of security.
  3. Intolerance – specifically, of new ideas, new people or new markets.
  4. Inward focus – cripples your desire to network and to learn from the outside world.
  5. Lust – a maddening desire for whatever causes an itch.  Think power and promotion here.
  6. Career – too much on this one and you'll forget that life is more important.
  7. Lack of vision – lack of vision is a block to seeing a great future.
  8. Apathy – an mindset rooted in; "I've heard it all before."  If you have a pulse you haven't heard it all before.