Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Only Way to Do Great Work

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. You can do a ‘good job’, you can meet deadlines and give the organization what it needs, helping its growth but those who do amazing work, innovative, energized, inspirational work are those who absolutely love what they do.

Last week I had a meeting with a woman in a position of leadership who I absolutely admire and respect. She turned to me in the middle of our conversation and asked “You really know who you are, don’t you?” We talked about that for a while. Yes, I know who I am and it’s a wonderful feeling. I love what I do and it shows. A colleague of mine pointed that out recently as well. We were talking about the difference between therapy, consulting and coaching (a heated discussion as we never see eye-to-eye on this) and when I told him a Coach is not supposed to advise a client; rather we’re supposed to challenge, show other perspectives, think globally if the client is thinking through tunnel vision. However the choices our clients make are theirs and theirs alone. When I spoke of my success using this model his immediate response was “You are successful because of who you are, not what you do”. That got me thinking….

Perhaps he’s right. I don’t know. I believe every person who is successful in his/her profession is so because of enthusiasm and love for what they are doing. Yes, a level of expertise is necessary (a given) however one can learn a skill and be proficient at it, but it’s those who are talented in their realms, and absolutely love every second of their work who create magic in their field.

Even though this is career 2½, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I live what I work at, live the concepts of the programs I coach by, the ways of being I speak about and, because I teach by example, I’m able to translate those concepts into real life situational change with my clients.

If life threw me a curve I know I would find a way to continue to coach. Can you say the same? Do you wake up every morning eager to begin the day, possibly not knowing what it’ll bring yet not caring as you know it’ll be something extraordinary even in an ordinary day?

What you do for a living will take up a huge chunk of every day….of your life. And if you don’t love it, then you need to find a way to. If you can’t see yourself changing professions, then find a way for your vocation to fund your avocation so you are doing what you love in some way shape or form.

In the last few years I’ve developed a personal motto to not settle. Nothing should be ‘good enough’….it should be great. Good enough for me is a steppingstone for what could be better. It’s not perfectionism; it’s knowing I’m working right now on what will be something I will look back on in the future that is great, creating a smile every time I think of it. But every day is like that for me. It’s either a learning experience, watching a client fly, a new idea or concept to explore and expand on for the future, or a moment in time that makes me stop in my tracks and take notice.

It is jumping into the deep end of each day and rising to the surface.

You will not be satisfied and have a sense of accomplishment if you’re settling. And before you come up with every reason in the book why your dream can’t happen, start by listing every way it can and begin building it right now.

Donna Karlin

* People from two new countries have joined the Perspectives ‘family’. Welcome readers from Dominica and the Czech Republic!

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