– Hebbel, German Poet
Passion for life and business is what excites us to jump out of bed in the morning and set out to accomplish our goals. As a business owner and professional it is very easy to set out on the path of success and keep walking until we reach that elusive finish line. The challenge is that the path to success walks us through this thing called life full of opportunities, things that “need to get done”, tasks, distractions and events that can lead us away from where we flourish and where we feel most alive: our passions.
When the economy started to suffer in 2008 I observed an interesting shift in the careers of my friends, colleauges and acquaintences. Many were in high paying positions, going to work every day and seemingly happy with their career choices and lives they had built. It appeared that they were in the ”right” careers for them and the success they had demonstrated that. When the economy shifted many of these same people left their jobs and set out on a completely different career, some starting their own companies, others going back to school. It turns out that their paths to success led them to stable, well-paying jobs that unfortunately did not make them happy and left them feeling unsatisfied. Whether they made a change due to increased stress, the daily routine, a shift in company culture the result was the same. They left an unsatisfying situation to live their passion and do what they enjoy.
I recently had a similar experience. One of the companies I founded required that I become more involved in the daily operations. I charged ahead and jumped right in with gusto but soon found myself not enjoying going to work every day. A company that I was excited to build became something that I did not look forward to. How is that possible when I founded the company? It is very easy to take on additional tasks and responsibilities that change your role and put you in a place where you are no longer operating in your strengths and focussed on the things you are passionate about. The trick for me, for all of us, is to constantly evaluate our position and role in an organization to determine if we are living our passions on a daily basis.
- When have I felt the most accomplished?
- What is my favorite part of the workday?
- What at work feels easy and not stressful?
- Are there times during the day where you catch yourself smiling or laughing?
- What do you miss doing and wish you could do more of?
Look at your answers, evaluate your business or position and actively look for ways to incorporate those things in your daily routine. You may not be able to do them 100% of the time but incorporating them as much as possible will increase your productivity and you will enjoy what you do.
Also ask yourself:
- When do I feel the most stressed?
- What tasks do I actively avoid or procrastinate on?
- What is my least favorite part of the day?
If you own your business hire people to handle the tasks you do not enjoy. You will probably find that they do them faster and better than you and now your time will be freed up to do what you excel at, causing your business to flourish. If you are a professional with a team around you see what tasks you can delegate to someone else. They may have tasks assigned to them that they do not enjoy and by working together you can increase your productivity and work satisfaction.
At the end of the day we all want to be succesful, achieve the goals we set out for ourselves and feel satisfied with our accomplishments. The important component is to make sure that your focus incorporates, rather than ignores, your personal happiness. When you operate under this principal you will be more succesful, accomplish more during the day,