“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
– Warren Buffett
We’ve all heard that saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Warren Buffet certainly paints a charming picture of that notion in the quote above; bounding out of bed, pumped to face a day full of challenges and wins that offer personal fulfilment and growth.
On the other hand, there’s that equally wise adage, “Play to your strengths”. In a perfect world these two things (what you love and what you’re good at) would be one and the same. But what if there’s a gap between them – one wide enough to fall into?
I feel very fortunate in this regard; my own passion for empowering genius is something I’ve been able to actively pursue in my career. And, after 30 plus years working in the professional services industry sector, you could say I’ve developed something of a sixth sense for talent spotting. My challenge has always been to take those talented people on a journey, helping them unlock their genius to become Experts; those lucky people who get to execute on their passions and truly follow their dreams.
I truly believe when you’re the best at something people need and want, you’ll always be in high demand. All you need is someone to promote you as such and manage that journey for you, so you’re free to operate within your zone of genius.
At 460degrees, however, we quickly learned that’s easier said than done. And without that alignment between passion and skill, I can honestly say you’re certain to fail.
So, what can you do?
In establishing our Expert’s unique journeys, we embraced Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle framework. Because you start by formalising an individual’s Why, How and What, you end up with a way to achieve that all-important alignment, setting you up for success.
In keeping with Sinek’s model, we start with the Expert’s “Why” – the purpose, cause or belief that gets them bounding out of bed in the morning. We find that once our Experts understand their Why, the How and What fall into place.
That’s because it’s our emotions that drive our actions. Once you’ve identified your emotional drivers, your logical brain can work on how to go about satisfying them.
This is a completely different model for designing your life; inside out, rather than outside in.
Think of the way people usually talk to newer consultants about their future. They’ll say something like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” But this encourages them to jam themselves into a What, then figure out a How. They might not even think about the Why.
Imagine, instead, asking, “what problems would you like to solve?” or even simply “what gets you really excited?”. This encourages someone to start with their Why. Now they can work out how to use their skills and talents to achieve it. And, because they’re working towards a cherished dream, the ‘hard work’ it takes to get there doesn’t feel too much like work. Their passion drives them to make the necessary sacrifices and focus their energy where it’s needed.
But how does that work for a Lawyer who wants to be a life coach? Should they just pack it all in and stop doing a job they’re good at, but don’t feel all that passionate about?
That’s when you see them slink back to the corporate world within 12 months. They’re once again starting with a What – being a life coach.
If they spent time reflecting on their Why, they might realise what they really want is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Suddenly all sorts of options open up to them as they consider different ways they can use their existing skills and experience to live out that dream. Maybe they’d side-step into human rights or environmental law. Perhaps they’d teach or mentor young people looking towards a law career. They might even create a whole new role for themselves, fulfilling a need in that industry no one is currently servicing.
It turns out it’s easier to be passionate about something you’re really good at.
Bottom line, there are 4 steps to making your passion the engine for your success:
- Find your Why
- Stick to your knitting
- Plan your How and What
- Be patient and tenacious
If you’re ready to find your Why, How and What, connect with me and the 460degrees team at [email protected]