Do what you love? Or do what most needs doing?

work,passion,career,art,writing

A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:

…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?

…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.

…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.

…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.

Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’


Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)

Coach? Bah! Hmmmm. Yah.

portrait-close-up-man

It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close.  Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)

The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)

He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.

Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder.  I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more…]

Rise

rise-robert-ingersoll

 


Source: ArtPropelled

Driving. With my alcohol.

breathe-steam-portrait

4:40 am.
I’m rumbling down I-95.
Dave Matthews is blaring through the speakers. And has been joining me on the morning ride all week.

You’ve been off. Haven’t found your rhythm. It’s back. You’re burning it from both ends.  The adrenaline – – it’s pumpin’.

I look down at the gas gauge. And then to the estimate of the mileage remaining. Annoyed at the interruption. Need to stop. Better stop. I pull over to the Mobile station.

I’m listening to the clicks on the pump.  And find myself drifting off.  There’s mist coming from my nose, rising up, and then disappearing into the darkness. I breathe in deeply. Exhale through the nose. And watch the show again. Magic. A Miracle. My morning moment of meditation.  And like the wisp of air, Pessoa’s disquiet rushes to fill the stillness.

You’re more comfortable moving. You find peace in motion.  Yet, you know it ain’t peace.

It’s hanging on my bulletin board in the office: “business is the art of getting people to where they need to be faster than they would get there without you.”  A Hugh McLeod illustration.  A Big red hand with index finger pointing up – #1.  There it is. Your strength. Your core competence. The transference of your disquiet to others.  Pushing the pace.  Injecting your adrenaline. More. Better. FASTER.
[Read more…]

Doing. Being.

portrait-man-black and white-Brian Ingram

Most people have the hardest time relaxing. We were taught at an early age to ‘do,’ and now we are so addicted to doing that even if we take a break we think about what to do next. Very few ever realize that the priceless treasure in life is ‘Being.’

D.R. Butler

 


  • Photograph: Thank you Brian Ingram. Note that Brian also kindly permitted the use of his photograph for my blog header.
  • Quote: Thank you Karen @ Karen’s Korner.

Get. To. The. Point.

brief-joseph-mccormack


Excerpts from the Joseph McCormack’s Book Brief: The Brevity Mandate

“Here are the daunting challenges we all face every day to be heard: Attention spans are in a tailspin. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds and now it’s only eight. Professionals are interrupted 6-7 times an hour, often unable to get back to the task at hand. More than 43% abandon complicated or lengthy emails in the first 30 seconds. And the majority of people admit ignoring half the e-mails they get every day.”

“The more you say, the less people hear”

“The business world today is full of information overload and there is not enough time to sift through it. If you cannot capture people’s attention and deliver your message with brevity, you’ll lose them.”

“The discipline to capture and manage elusive mindshare now shapes and defines professional success. Shorter emails, better organized updates, and tighter and more engaging presentations are immediate indicators that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in an attention economy.”

“Getting to the point is a non-negotiable standard.”


Find book on Amazon here.


We doing this?

Focus, important,efficiency,productive,


More insight here: 99U.


Gotta know when to hold ’em

cards, leadership, management

I’m on a conference call.
A long conference call.
The discussion is stretching and swirling in a loop.
I can feel my patience growing thin.

Is this normal brainstorming? 
Or part of the creative process?  
Or is this a complete mess?  
Or is my lack of sleep clouding my judgment? 

My mind drifts.
I call up one of my favorite management books: QBQ by John Miller.
John would suggest that I ask the Question Behind the Question?

Why am I amped up?  
What have I done to contribute to the rudderless direction of this call?  

I think about that for a moment.
Nah, can’t be me. Of course not.

I let the debate go on. I listen in silently hoping the solve is coming.

I turn to gnawing on a finger nail.
Aren’t you too old to be biting your finger nails? Disgusting habit. [Read more…]

10 Guaranteed Steps to Leadership Excellence

business,leadership,lead,manage,management

  1. Be strategic. Be Tactical. Be a firefighter.
  2. Push for productivity. For excellence. Pull. Pull with PURPOSE.
  3. Set pace. Drive. Pause. Stop. Change. BALANCE.
  4. Build Relationships. CARE. Keep adequate distance.
  5. Learn. Coach. Nurture. Correct.
  6. Hire. Upgrade. Right-size. Fire. (sigh)
  7. Lead. Manage. Own. Delegate. Follow. Release.
  8. Show Strength. Be Resilient. Be Tough. Be Fair. Be compassionate. Admit weakness.
  9. Cheer. Rally. Celebrate. Recognize. Recover.  Regroup. INSPIRE.
  10. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. BE ON.

 


Image Credit


 

Good to be wrong

black and white,portrait,

It’s my third email of the day.
I’m reading.
A member on the team is getting accolades.
I flashback to a conversation with his manager three years ago.

He’s rough. Not sure he has it. Big Risk.
“There’s talent there. Trust me.”

I send him a note: “I’m proud we’re on the same team.”

Seconds later my email is flashing with his reply.

You made my day.”

I push my chair back.

And turn my back to my desk and stare out the window.

Good to be wrong.


Image Credit


T.G.I.F.: How’s your week gone? Exactly.

funny-tgif-calvin


Image Credit

Two qualities that make you compelling (or not)

compelling_people_book_cover_John Neffinger

“…It turns out that when we decide how we feel about someone, we are making not one judgment, but two. The criteria that count are what we call “strength” and “warmth.” Strength is a person’s capacity to make things happen with abilities and force of will. When people project strength, they command our respect. Warmth is the sense that a person shares our feelings, interests, and view of the world. When people project warmth, we like and support them…”

“…While each of us exhibit both strong and warm qualities, the authors found through various studies and research that we often fail to utilize the right amounts of each. This is because, although both strength and warmth are positive traits, they can become negative if not balanced for and catered to your specific situation. Awareness is key. Strength and warmth are controllable traits we use in every interaction we have—via our tone of voice, the words we use, how we stand and walk, what we wear, and even how we cut our hair…”

Read more @ 800ceoread


Find this book @ Amazon

 

Lean in? No. Lean Back.

lean back

Excerpts From The EconomistIn Praise of Laziness:

“THERE is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Sheryl Sandberg urges women to “Lean In” if they want to get ahead. John Bernard offers breathless advice on conducting “Business at the Speed of Now”. Michael Port tells salesmen how to “Book Yourself Solid”…

Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year…suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.

[Read more…]

“A” vs. “B” vs. “C”

Indexed,chart,free time,work,passion,writer,artist,


Two questions: Which one of the four below are you? (Assuming you are one of the four.)  Which one is optimal?

  1. “A” > “B” = No “C”
  2. “A” < “B” = No “C”
  3. “A” + “B” = Some “C”
  4. “P” =  “J” = No “C”

Where ‘A’= Time Spent On What You Love to Do.
Where ‘B’= Time Spent on Your Job.
Where ‘C’= Amount of Your Free Time.
Where ‘P’= What You Love To Do.
Where  ‘J’ = Your Job.


Chart Source: Great Work Done From 5 to 9Indexed by Jessica Hagy

Simpatico

theresa-curra

I watched from a distance. A short, feisty, scrappy, spit-fire. A Chihuahua.

Place of Birth: The Bronx. With accompanying accent.

Deep skills. A reputation for getting things done, but doing so and leaving a large wake. She didn’t tolerate fools gladly. She was quick to show up colleagues. Result: A bulls-eye on her back.

It was January, 2011. It was a 12-minute interview. I told her that the job was hers sans the wake creation. I would have zero tolerance for air turbulence. I created enough of my own.

I went on to give her the pre-game disclosure. And motivational speech:

You’re playing on the A team now. Out of junior varsity.
We use proper English in our memos and letters.
No slang. Or whatever that is coming out of your mouth.
I need to show up at the right airport. At the right meeting. On time. All the time.
No crying when your feelings get hurt. You want a hug, get a dog.
I had better not find HR in my office on any antics.
You won’t keep up. Just accept it. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-up Call: Not just yet…

sleeping, black and white, dog, photography


Source: lalulutres

Riding MetroNorth. In reflection.

team

Stack ’em up and rumble. Dawn till dusk. Conference calls. One on one calls. Meetings. Emails + Texts: 175 and counting (the day isn’t over). Swinging a gas powered weed wacker. The day: A half-high-five. Many routine ground balls. No major drops. Grade? Falling forward.

I’m on the 7:15 pm MetroNorth railroad heading home.  The overhead air conditioning vent is heaven; a cool shower drying sweat from the sweltering cross-town walk.  I close my eyes. And drift back to the day’s highlight. A working lunch. I’m 7 minutes late. I apologize and sit. The team waited for me before digging into lunch.

We’re 10 minutes in.  The racing, charging, driving of the prior four hours burns off.  My heart rate slows. I’m not tapping my foot. I’m not pushing the pace. Not glancing at my watch. Not thinking ahead to the next meeting. I’m watching. And listening.  I’m actually present. [Read more…]

This. Or that?

chart


Simple illustration.  Various applications.


Source: Carl Richards

Everyone is doing it. Must be right.

Wrong is Wrong Right is Right


Source: Thank you thinksquad

Be grateful. Be VERY grateful for your current job.

13 of the Worst Jobs in the World


Source: Lapham’s Quarterly

Related Post: Best Jobs in America

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