About 7 years ago I decided that good isn’t good enough. Not in any part of life: work, play, health, relationships; education and exploration; service and faith. We can do better when we make the decision to be great. Sounds simple enough, but most of us, most of the time, settle for a few steps below. We don’t test our highest powers.
Great isn’t about keeping score, it’s about measuring growth. And the true beauty of that proclamation unfolds when it’s void of contrasts and comparisons of what other people are doing. It’s most meaningful when it’s all YOURS. The pursuit of your own personal greatness – in whatever size or shape that speaks to you – that’s when you begin to elevate to another level. That’s when you raise the bar.
The irony of it all is that we may rarely reach our own lofty standards. But that’s ok. The symptoms and side effects of simply pushing and fighting and striving to be great – to build great things and make great differences – give us all the habits and tools we need to keep our fire burning. No matter what dark twists or ugly turns cross our Paths. That passionate pursuit helps us keep going. That journey keeps us grateful.
So let’s decide.
And then let’s go do great work.
There are only two points that matter: The Moment, and The Vision.
What are you doing right now, and what do you want to create?
Stay focused in the moment and stay relentless toward YOUR vision.
The middle doesn’t matter – so be open and nimble and ready. Don’t get discouraged when all doesn’t go according to plan. Don’t let the downs shake you off course.
Take the hits, but remember where you’re headed. Notice the signals and follow the signs.
Go with your gut… As long as that bigger picture – that broader purpose – remains clear and honest and true, keep doing and keep moving.
You WILL get there.
After a lifetime of personal experience, 15 years of corporate and startup experience, and four solid years helping people learn everything from surfing and pottery to financial planning and dental assisting, I’ve found three factors to be the most important to success and fulfillment in your career:
1. Passion: You gotta genuinely love what you do.
2. Skills: Passion alone is powerful, but it isn’t enough. Specialized training on the specific, practical skills that you need on the job is critical. Sounds basic but I’m constantly blown away by how many people are working jobs they aren’t properly trained for (and yes, even/especially those with college degrees).
3. Mentorship: You need to be surrounded by leaders and experts who genuinely care about you, your company and the mission you’re on together.
Passion, Skills and Mentorship.
If you have those three things, you will do great work. And you’ll have a blast doing it.
Company leaders, please do your best to not only hire folks who already possess this triumvirate, but help your current employees get there as well. You can’t teach passion, but you can definitely help with skills and mentorship. It will not only drive your bottom line, but it will elevate your company culture and enhance your customer experience.
Gratefulness is the key to happiness.
In a life full of lessons, that’s one of the biggest I’ve learned.
Things don’t always go as we planned. Actually, most of the time they don’t. Things take longer, cut deeper and are just plain harder than we imagine. More people leave than stay. We lose time and we lose trust. The picture gets fuzzy and the canvas gets frayed. And no matter what we paint on our face or put on our feeds, we lose a whole lot more than we win.
But through it all – the good, the bad and the awful; the silent victories and the screaming failures; the hidden strides and the public setbacks; the best of times and the worst of timing…. through it ALL – if we remain grateful for every part of it, we’re able to live our best life.
If we‘re grateful for each opportunity, more chances seem to come our way. If we’re thankful for our darkest moments, life begins to become a little lighter. When we nod in appreciation, fate smiles back.
Because it’s the whole thing, every soft corner and every sharp edge, that builds us into who we are. And when we’re aware of that, and grateful for that, then – no matter what – we build something beautiful. No matter what, we’re truly happy.
We often get our “passion” and our “purpose” confused.
I used to think about this a lot, especially as I got older and started to advance in my career. I wanted my decisions to be more linked to passion and purpose, but I wasn’t clear on either.
Were they the same thing? How do you define them? What’s the difference?…
It took me a lot of learning and exploring and failing and finding to discover the simple answer to that confusing question:
Your passion is about YOU. It’s about what you love.
Your purpose has NOTHING to do with you. It’s about what you do for OTHERS.
And when you’re able to sync them seamlessly together – pouring your time and energy and effort into what you love in order to create something meaningful for others – that’s when you become your greatest self. That’s when you give your greatest gift.