Contribute Your Way To A Great Career
January 14, 2021
Here is a mental exercise to help give a perspective of what is vital for a fulfilling career.
Imagine someone is on his death bed, looking back at his 40-year career and ruminating about it in one of these three scenarios.
Scenario 1- I traded stocks all my life, and I was good at it. I made lots of money. I have all types of assets.
Scenario 2- I was an entrepreneur(or I worked with a few organizations)- I worked very hard. I contributed through my skills. I enjoyed success in what I did and have been financially very comfortable.
Scenario 3- I worked at a charity committed to eradicating Malaria, and I worked my butt off. The job did not pay well, and It was not easy, but I know that my efforts meant something. I was able to help prevent over 100000 kids from dying.
Without overthinking, ask yourself which scenario inspires you the most?
Intellectually, we may want it to be a combination of all the three if possible. But, if we had to choose the option that inspires us the most- it will always be scenario 3.
Why is it so? Because, somewhere deep inside, all of us have a true calling. To be able to serve and create value for others and scenario 3 tugs at that inner desire.
Whenever I speak with anyone confused about a career, I share this example to help provide a perspective.
Contribute And Create Value
As the example shows, deep inside, we all want to create value and do something that benefits others.
But somewhere along the way, we get caught in the rat race of benchmarking and material success. We start thinking of our career from the perch of self-interest- My growth, financial well-being, power, recognition, and respect. The more we get caught in this ego fuelled vortex of self-interest, the more disconnected we become with this inner calling.
This is what leads to the feeling of lack of purpose, meaning. “What am I doing all this for?”
A great career happens when you focus on using your skills to contribute and create value that benefits others- Colleagues, the organization, clients, and society. When you focus on helping others, lots of people will want you to succeed.
When someone asks me – “I feel stuck in my job. I am not enjoying the work I do; what should I be doing,” I tell them, ” Try shifting your attention to how you can create value for others. This is the best way to improve the way you feel about the job you are doing. Keep doing this consistently, and your career will flourish.”