Mitch Joel, is a digital titan. Frequently, he is called upon to be the expert voice for Fast Company, Marketing Magazine, Strategy, The Globe & Mail and many more outlets. He is a regular columnist for theHarvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, and The Huffington Post.
So, when we came across his article “How To Be Inspired At Work” we were intrigued. He writes, “Know your purpose on the planet and then follow it. If you do this you will begin to see inspiration in everything you see, hear, touch, and do.”
In his Forbes article, Three Steps For Finding Your Perfect Job, Career, And Life, Louis Efron list three important steps for finding your perfect job. He says, “People who are happiest and most fulfilled live what is the perfect job, career and life for them. This does not mean living their life would be perfect for you. Like a snowflake, perfection is defined individually. It is achievable for anyone willing to put the effort into defining, discovering and pursuing it.”
Efron goes on to say, “The first step in your journey is to understand what you are most passionate about, love, and naturally do best. I agree wholeheartedly that it is important to understand what your passions are (Interests or WHAT you love to do) and what you are good at (Strengths or HOW you have learned to be successful). They may not be one and the same. In addition, there is also a piece missing. We need to understand our needs, or what we need our work environment to look like. This is what frees us to do WHAT we love HOW we can be successful in doing so. Read more
Annie McKee has written a compelling article in the Harvard Business Review about how important it is to be happy at work. In her article, Being Happy at Work Matters. Ms. McKee writes, “Added up, brain science and our organizational research are in fact debunking the old myths: emotions matter a lot at work. Happiness is important. To be fully engaged, people need vision, meaning, purpose, and resonant relationships.” On this point I agree 100%.
What I do not agree with in this: “There are clear similarities in what people say they want and need, no matter where they are from, whom they work for, or what they do. We often assume that there are huge differences across industries and around the world but the research challenges that assumption.” It is interesting to me that no research is quoted to support this finding.
Now that I am changing my career based on my Know Thyself Guide® findings, I wonder what my career path would have been like if I truly understood and pursued my real passions from the very beginning.
Basic research has always been an interest to me. I was a math major in college, focusing on some very esoteric areas of real and complex analysis. It was my intent to get my Ph. D. and enter academia, primarily so that I could continue research in this area. I shelved this idea following my masters because the market was glutted at the time with Ph. D. mathematicians. Imagine that now!
After our Camino walk, seven of us peeled off from the others and drove seven hours to the Basque Country. Our goal was to visit the relatively new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. One of my fellow pilgrims is an artist in her own right, meaning she can and does actually make visual arts her vocation as well as her avocation. As both a student and professor of modern and post modern art, she has interests and talents in teaching as well as making visual arts.
Here was a marriage of interests that really worked on this day. I reviewed my own Know Thyself Guide® and here is what I read:
You have a significant level of interest in the theory underlying the way things work. (In other words, I ask why a lot.)
You have an above average interest in the way things look. (So not surprising I am in an art museum.)
You have an above average interest in what is heard. . . How things sound. (The reason this is important became apparent later.)
Unlike my fellow pilgrim, I do not have any real strengths as an artist, and I fail to like or even appreciate much of what I saw this day. There was one piece of “art” that I swear was exactly like the plastic awning under which I sat for lunch. I did not get it. So I kept asking my artist pilgrim, “why?” Why did the artist do this? The teaching professor in her patiently explained how to view these pieces and the why’s and why not’s. It was a perfect match of interests–my desire to understand and her interest in teaching.
So the plastic piece still looks like an awning to me. I don’t really like it, but I appreciate it more. There were two other pieces that made a significant impact on me and all because of my third interest–how things sound. There was a large room filled with steel structures that you wondered through. My pilgrim buddies loved it. I could not wait to get out. Why? The sound. I could not take the noise. Conversely, there was a video exhibit that had deconstructed an Abba song. Each piece was a lovely sound and you could almost hear the whole piece the whole time you were concentrating on one component. That I really enjoyed.
This experience was a great lesson for me in the power of interests, as per the Know Thyself Guides®. Interests are those things which you would enjoy if pay or prestige were equal and it does not necessarily have anything to do with talents.
Understanding your interests -vs- your strengths is important when finding a job you’ll love.