Are you doing what you’re great at? And what you love to do? And you’re paid a living wage to do it?
And – a hugely important consideration – you’re serving others well while you’re doing it?
I believe that’s the ultimate sweet spot for each of us. Yet sometimes we settle for less than all four of those important elements.
When we settle, we may put a cap on our own joy – and on our ability to contribute to our company, family, and community.
If we find a career doing something we’re good at and are paid fairly for, but aren’t doing what we love and aren’t serving others well, we’re not going to be happy in the long run. Nor are we likely able to be our best every moment.
If we finds outlets – volunteering in your community or YMCA, for example – that let us engage in activities we’re good at, love to do, and serve others well but get little compensation for, that’s a good thing! Activities like these may be a small portion of our week or month (several hours, maybe), but they feed our soul. We’re grateful for these inspiring hours.
What, though, if these inspiring, engaging activities don’t offset the many more hours you spend in an unfulfilling career? What then?
We can choose a different play, a different stage, and a different role – one that does fulfill us daily.
The path won’t be easy. But it may be worth the time, energy, and risks to find that inspiring sweet spot.
Two acquaintances shared with me recently the stories of their spouses who embarked on very similar mid-life transitions.
One was an architect. She’d earned an architecture degree, gained her license, and joined the AIA. She found a well-paying job. She was successful. But she didn’t love it; she didn’t feel she was serving others as well as she could.
After fifteen years in the field, she quit. She went back to school to study to be a registered nurse. She earned her nursing degree and has found a great job. She loves what she’s doing. She feels she’s serving people beautifully. She’s found her sweet spot.
Another friend’s spouse was a successful sales person and sales team leader. She was well-paid and successful over a twenty-year career. And, she didn’t love her work. She couldn’t tolerate going through the motions so she applied at veterinary school. She was accepted and quit her sales job. She headed off to school this month.
She’s so excited she can hardly stand it. She can’t wait to finish her doctoral program and serve animals (and their owners) in a veterinary hospital.
You may not be in a position to quit your job and go back to school for your “perfect,” inspiring job. But you may have a good idea of activities that could be a source of inspiration for you.
If your job isn’t in your sweet spot, engage in activities that nourish your soul and serve others well. Pay it forward – those you serve will be inspired by your actions.
What job or activities fall into your unique sweet spot? In what ways do you nourish your soul and serve others? Please share your insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.
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