leadership, life

Getting Paid for Doing What You Love

Yes, perhaps a cliché title. But hang with me…

What others have found most interesting about my professional life thus far:

  1. I left corporate America after 1 year and to completely re-career and pursue coaching and education.
  2. After 7 years of teaching at the high school and college level, I left the academic realm to make my part-time triathlon coaching business into a full-time venture.

Once the ship set sail on each of these choices, I never looked back at the shore. I was totally focused on the task at hand and on learning as much as I possibly could in order to succeed.

Because of where my focus was directed, it was hard to empathize or even unpack my decision points to others that also were considering career changes. People were interested in WHY I did what I did. Some were even inspired.

So I answered their questions to the best of my ability and then moved on. (Remember: tunnel-vision focus!)

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So, I came across a book the other day my mother handed me.

She said, “David, your childhood friend Dustin wrote a book – you should check it out.” I remembered Dustin of course, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that he had published a book. Out of curiosity and affection for an old pal, I dove in.

Very quickly in to the first few chapters, I thought, “YES! FINALLY! THIS IS AMAZING!!”

The reason for the excitement was because I finally have an incredible resource to share with people who need a step-by-step approach to guide them from “I hate my job” to “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!”

My advice was usually “Just do it. Jump off the cliff. It’s exhilarating (and humbling) and you’ll figure it out along the way.”

Where Dustin is gifted is in guiding you to dive into critical questions and in the perfect sequencing, too. I think he is able to do this so powerfully because 1) he’s lived it, and 2) he’s helped hundreds do the same through a decade of career and leadership coaching.

I got so into the book that I found myself loving the end-of-chapter exercises, as I was validating (and strengthening…it’s like a muscle) what I’ve already learned through experience, but I was also learning new things about myself — for a lifelong learner, the practice is always ongoing. I’m grateful for Dustin for being my teacher!

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There was one exercise that was particularly meaningful to me. He took me through a reflection exercise where I had to look back at when I felt the most energized over the past 7 days. The ironic part is that one of those times was in the actual “doing” and participating in the activities he was suggesting (this is largely due to the fact that one of my top 3 values is PERSONAL GROWTH).

After coming up with some memorable and invigorating occurrences, Dustin then asked me to summarize “the thing(s) I was doing that gave me the energy”. Writing this down was somehow exciting and wonderful. Might sound weird but it’s true.

The last part of the exercise he challenged me to write a statement that would capture the energy of what I’d just written (see above sentence) but to be general enough to be widely applicable.

The result, my personal mission statement:

I love to empower others (through leadership, coaching, teaching, and speaking) to be true to themselves, to believe in themselves, and to take actions that are consistent with being or becoming their BEST possible selves.

If you like the idea of having your work be energizing and life-giving (i.e., not life-sucking and draining), then this book can really help you organize your thoughts to help you take meaningful actions towards “loving what you do”.

My favorite quote from the book: “There is always room at the top for those who love what they do.”

Reset: How to Get Paid and Love What You Do, by Dustin Peterson

For your success,

David

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