When I lead workshops, it's common for people to approach me following a session with a personal question of sorts. Recently, I had someone ask me "What would you say to a guy who is one step from completely checking out and moving on?" Once we established that the "guy" was indeed him, I asked him two questions that became his homework as we parted. One question was "What do you want in your job that you don't have today?" The second question was "How have you talked to your boss about that?"
Those might seem like simple questions, but I find that many people can't answer either question with much confidence. It's easy for people to know what they don't like and to complain about it; it can be more difficult for them to pinpoint what they do want that they don't have. I will not allow them to start their responses with "I don't want ..." and that usually puts them off their game as they are used to focusing on what they don't want. If you focus on that, you will likely see only what you don't want (that is not a successful recipe for change). The other question points toward a different issue and that is in taking responsibility to talk with your boss about what you want; in my experience, not many people know how to do that very well or are willing to have that conversation.
I started my work life as a music teacher (after realizing that my dream of being a concert pianist was going to take more work - and talent - than I thought was needed). After teaching music for a couple of years, I quit. I hated teaching music! I started to go back to school off and on as I worked several types of jobs (my resume would take up several blog posts). As I was trying to find out what I really wanted to do as a career (besides being a mom), my father would remind me that I should have stayed with what I went to school for. "If you would have stuck with teaching school, you would have tenure by now and be making good money. You'd be secure." Every time he raised this concern, I would respond that I hated teaching music. My father lived through the depression and the concept of liking your job was a foreign one to him. From his perspective, I should have been happy to have a job - liking a job was not part of the deal.
I am fortunate that I finally found what I loved to do and I am doing it today! Tie my story back to the question posed by my workshop participant and I get to my key point this week. Life is short - too short! Please take the time to figure out what your passion is ( in work and in relationships) and then go after it. Your path to doing what you love might not be a direct path or an easy path, but it will be worth it and you can get there.
How does Steve Jobs fit into this? He gave a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 that is awesome. He was a complicated (code word for strange) man. He was genius. He was unconventional. He did and said some really stupid things; however, the things he told the graduates at Stanford that day in 2005 were not stupid. The link is here so you can check it out. I know that his speech was meant for people that were on the precipice of a new phase of their lives, but I think we all live every day on the precipice of a new phase of our lives IF we want a new phase. Check it out!
If you want to read about this complicated man, I recommend his biography. I don't read biographies, but I felt drawn to this man's story and it's a fascinating read. You can check that out, too.
There are two powerful inquiry questions for you this week:
1) What do you want in your job/relationship that you don't have today?
2) How have you talked to the person/people that could do anything about what you want?
BTW - are you writing these weekly questions down somewhere along with your responses? If not, why not? This is free coaching, my friends! Read the questions - ponder them - record them - ponder them longer - make some decisions and begin to change your life. If you like what you are reading, PLEASE send this post to a friend today and ask them to subscribe. Let's work together to make the world a more intentional place where people realize they have choices to live and be better. Thank you!