Going To Fun
If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times. I'm a very fortunate guy. My post college career has covered a span of more than thirty-five years so far. During that time I have probably "gone to work" for five or six years - and seldom for more than six to twelve months in a row. Instead, I've been "going to fun".
Think about it. What would you rather do? Go to work, or go to fun?
Whenever I started to get the feeling that I was going to work instead of fun, I forced myself to pay closer attention. What was causing those feelings? Was it a change in responsibilities? In management? In my office environment? Or was it something else? And how much influence did I have over the source of those feelings?
On more than one occasion, the answer to those questions helped me decide that it was time to make a change. Time to reestablish my priorities, focus on my passion, and move my career back to fun.
Over the past few years I've found myself mentoring more and more high school, college and graduate students. Among the many things they are all interested in is the story of my career path
. Essentially, they are asking how to shape an executive career so that it is both financially rewarding and fun.
My answer? Go to fun!
I emphasize that they need to make it their priority to discover their passion and find a business that will pay them to use it in their role, day after day. And that's when they ask the harder question...
How do I discover my passion?
I've been giving that question some serious consideration. Less than a year ago, I wrote about identifying our career taproot.
The part of us that grows deep below the surface providing nourishment for our careers while sustaining our career posture, presence and vitality. All good, but not a great answer for how to discover ones passion.
My current thinking has taken the shape of a simple Venn diagram in which three centers of influence converge to form a place where passion might reside. Understand that I have no specific training or education that qualifies me to offer insight into the mysteries of passion. Instead, these thoughts are simply based on opinions shaped by experiences that I've had in my personal and professional life.
Respond to these three questions with a list of words that describe answers that are right for you. There are no wrong answers. Each of us will likely have a somewhat different list. Just be totally honest with yourself.
- What do you love to do? (List the things that you would do most if you had full control of every hour in your day. What are you doing, or hoping to do, when you are enjoying life the most?)
- Where do you love to be? (List the types of places that you enjoy being in. Are they big and expansive or small and intimate? Are they quiet and peaceful or active and energized?)
- How do you love to act? (List descriptors of your core values, behaviors, and style. Are you driven by integrity, transparency and nurturing:? Or perhaps your more competitive, controlling, and decisive?)
Look for the words on each list that seem to work and perform well together. Which aspects of each list are to be in congruence with one another. The more that seem to blend together, the bigger the overlap in your centers of passionate influence - and the better defined your passion will be.
The final step in this model is to identify career opportunities - roles, industries, and specific businesses - that line up well with the passion you have defined and discovered within yourself. By finding that alignment each of us improves our chances of shifting the long held belief that we must go to work and earn a living. Instead, more people like you and me, will enable ourselves to go to fun and create a livelihood. In my opinion that's an incredible edge!
I'd love to hear your thoughts about this idea and others you may have on how best to discover and deploy our passion.
Your comments, suggestions, and stories of your personal edge are always welcome in my guest book.