The material this week was more diverse but the focus was on a life well lived. I mentioned my thoughts on one article, Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life?, in a separate post. As I said there, I read Christensen’s book of the same title awhile back and it had a profound impact on my impression of business; it’s part of why I’m pursuing a degree in business management. My key takeaway from that article was one of Christensen’s final comments: Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. That comment nicely sums up what I’ve learned so far in this course.
I also liked a snippet of video we watched from a talk by Tom Kelley. In the video, Do What You Love, Kelley shared a Venn diagram of three intersecting circles (I’ve replicated it below): what are you good at, what were you born to do, and what will people pay you for. It is at the intersection of these three circles that we will find the work that we love. I had run across a similar idea in the book The Start-up of You. There, the ideas had been expressed as assets (what are you good at), aspirations (what were you born to do) and what will people pay you for (market realities). These ideas have affected how I view my current work; I’ve come to understand better why I feel dissatisfied and what I can do about it. I’m also better able to express to others what I want to do.
Kelley added a component to his diagram that gave it another dimension, though. Surrounding his three circles was a rectangle entitled “Who.” This brings in the element of people. Who are you working with? Who are you working for? Do you enjoy the working environment? This is an important consideration and gave me some additional insight into my enjoyment of work.
Keeping this all in mind, for the last several years, I’ve worked with people and an employer that I generally enjoy, doing work that I’m good at, and that people have been willing to pay me for; but I’m missing the component of doing what I was born to do. My work is not fulfilling because it doesn’t appeal to the things that are really meaningful to me. With that insight, I’ve been able to talk with my manager about my aspirations and work with him to find a better market for my assets and aspirations.
Later, as I form my own business, I’ll want to continue to follow this model. I hope to learn more about finding that market that will pay for what I want to do, and how then to get my message to that market. I may not learn it in this course, but I certainly hope to learn it as a part of this program.