I was interviewed today by a career coach and good friend exploring the notion of doing what you love. In particular, the transitional period of change required to align your daily work to your idea of the life you want to lead. Apparently I may have ideas to share that might be useful for others wanting to make changes in their own life. I was careful to point out that whilst I had certainly had changed my career path, it had not yet resulted in any great successes. Or had it?
Maybe my idea of success is what needs to change, before negotiating any personal change. Perhaps that is the first step. What does success look like. For me, it is certainly not a stable and predictable job, or one of high status or power. It is not the acquisition of unlimited money. And it is not the commitment to excel within a single career path. All these things are outcomes based, and often by the time the outcome is achieved, the desire for it has shifted.
As I move along any career path my idea of what I love to do will change, with both my growing experience and opportunities that arise, so to lock into any one outcome is self limiting at best. This static outcome will prevent me from assessing pathways and new directions against what is is I really want to be doing with my life. Instead, what I prefer to focus on is a vision for what I want to be doing, in the knowledge that the vision will grow and shift as I do.
A further challenge is then deciding on which opportunities to take up, and which to pass up. If I am focused on a particular outcome, I will always choose to do what I think will best serve that outcome. Whereas if I am focused on a vision of the life I want to lead, I will make my choices based on what it is that I really want to do. For me, this has given me the courage to try new paths that serve my vision, and also the strength to turn down opportunities that will detract form my purpose.
So coming back to success. How can it be measured if not by defined outcomes? Is it too outrageous to suggest that doing what you love alone is success enough? Perhaps for some. Yet spending every day doing something that is meaningful to me provides me with a sense of personal power and purpose. It doesn’t need to be measured against traditional ideas of success because it has very little to to with anything external to me. It resides within me. Living my life in the manner I choose.
The funny thing is that I have no doubt that my unconventional idea of success will eventuate in more traditional forms of success, in time. That is how career paths tend to go. As I give it my energy and focus, I will make small achievements, and maybe even some larger ones. My path will lead to further personal development and open up new opportunities. All I have to do is align myself on a path that is directed towards my vision of the work I want to do.
I put this to you… Why on earth can’t you do what you would like to do? You are doing something already, whether you like it or not. Why not just point yourself towards a vision that serves you as opposed to a societally imposed idea of success. At the core of it all, your success is only ever your own.