What Do You Really Want?

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s February-a month associated with love, desire and passion. Do you ever think about what you do for work as an endeavor of love? I have worked with clients who are extremely successful, yet are not doing what they love. This seems counter intuitive because most of us believe that if someone is successful that person must love what they do. This is not always the case. Tama Kieves in “This Time I Dance” talks about her own evolution into doing what she loves. A very successful lawyer yet Tama found herself lamenting to a friend that she wasn’t sure she LOVED being a lawyer. Her friend asked “If you are this successful doing work you don’t love doing, then what could you do with work you love doing?” I think this is a great question for all of us as we connect the word love with work.

What holds us back from living into our passions? Cheryl Richardson’s book, “Take Time for Your Life” gives us some insights into these obstacles. She believes that people face seven common obstacles that prevent them from living their best life which could include doing the work they love. The list includes; difficulty putting self first, a schedule that does not reflect priorities, feeling drained by people or situations, living on adrenalin, lack of a support community, and putting their spiritual well-being last. As a coach, I not only help clients think through what they want to achieve, I also help them remove the barriers to their success. Look through the list and decide if any of the barriers apply to you and then think through how you might overcome the barriers in order to live more passionately into your own life!

Gay Hendricks adds that many people function in a zone of excellence where they perform their roles extremely well yet are not emotionally connected to the work. We know when we are in this “trap” as Hendricks calls it because while we are quite successful something else is calling to us. He challenges us to move out of our zones of comfort and excellence into our zone of genius. When we are in the zone of genius we are passionate about what we are doing and are drawing upon our many gifts and strengths.

A good exercise to move you into what you are passionate about is to create a statement about your purpose in life. Many of you have worked for organizations or volunteered for organizations that have vision and/or purpose/mission statements. Individuals can also have a vision/mission/purpose as well- although we don’t always take the time to develop it fully and/or state it clearly. In fact, other authors tell us that finding our purpose is a discovery not a goal. When we try to make our purpose goal directed we risk losing our joy, passion and fulfillment. Our purpose is not necessarily what we are naturally good at as discussed above-rather it is what drives us; what bubbles up from our hearts. It’s how we show up when we are passionately engaged in activities that energize us rather than those which are obligatory. Living through our purpose both releases energy and frees us up to new energies.

The Human Performance Institute offers a number of questions to explore when creating one’s life purpose including:

• What legacy do you want to leave behind?
• How do you want to be remembered?
• How do you want people to describe you?
• Who do you want to be?
• Who/what matters most to you?
• What are your deepest values?

Now that you have begun to think about your purpose/vision for yourself, you can begin to imagine how you might connect that purpose to your “work”. Let’s start with your vision. Did you know that high achievers have bigger visions? They have the perspective that anything can happen-so they let themselves dream big. Brian Moran from “The 12 Week Year” shares that “vision is the starting point of all high performance” and that vision is the first place you begin to think about possibilities.

Once you have established your vision, how do you make your vision real? Some of my clients create vision boards-that is they cut out pictures from magazines that represent their dreams. They keep these boards visible so that they can see them every day and maintain focus on what’s important. If you don’t have time for that you can write out your dreams on post-it notes or create them on your computer. Whatever you do, you want to be able to look at your vision and dreams daily.

Next, who do you know that does the “work” you feel passionate about? What do their jobs entail? Do you need to learn more, build competencies, or practice the required skills for the role? Do you know and/or have you developed your strengths in the areas that would support your heart’s desire for the new role? Gallup contends that people who know their talents and have the opportunity to use them at work are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life. Think about that, just knowing and developing your strengths can bring more passion to both home and work.

This month, I encourage you to think about how you might connect what you love doing most with what you are paid to do! Notice what brings you joy and invite more of that into your life!

To Your Success!

Dr. Peggy