Sunday, May 23, 2010

Today Was a Great Day Because….

If you can’t complete the sentence without much thought, think about changing what you do for a living. Look, I know that we all have responsibilities, not the least of which is providing, at least for ourselves and in most cases for others as well. But I would argue that if that fact is the sole motivator for staying where you are, you are probably performing less well than you could and sooner or later that will dawn on your employer. If we don’t enjoy what we are doing, and don’t find meaning in what we are doing, we tend to perform just well enough to keep the position at the current rate of pay. That is to say the boss probably figures, “He isn’t the best but the return on his cost to me is acceptable, even if no big deal." That being the case, when someone else becomes available with more promise in the boss’ eyes than you, your job will be in jeopardy anyway.

My message is that you can do, and be, better than that; much better. Among the differences between outstanding performers and average performers, are their respective feelings about the meaningfulness of their work. A Harvard Medical School graduate with a specialty in thoracic surgery, performing two surgeries per day over fifteen years and getting wealthy doing it, is probably no better than average in his surgical skills if each day at the operating table he wishes instead that he was spending his time in medical research and leading the charge in ending the very diseases that are now making him rich. In order to be great at what we do, it’s important that we find meaning in, and love it as well.

As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his terrific book, Outliers, The Story of Success, “…it is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five, it’s whether our work fulfills us.”

Without getting overly philosophical, and at the risk of stating the oft repeated and obvious, life's a short run. So much of it is spent at work. Wasting a moment of time, much less eight plus hours per day, five days a week, at what for you is meaningless work, squanders the gift, limits your contribution to others and your chance to be great.

Great Selling!

Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
Serve, Don't Sell
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