This year, I'm offering a series of free monthly success coaching calls to support people with laser focused advice on how to achieve more happiness, success and reward in their lives and work.
Recently, an attendee submitted a question that I've heard many times over the past years. It's important enough to cover here because thousands of individuals who want more, better and different in their lives are totally in the dark about the "right" answer to this, and are confused as to how to go about finding work that truly satisfies them.
The question they ask is: "Is it really possible to 'attract' rewarding work we love, or is that just mumbo jumbo? If it's doable, how do I go about it?"
There is no one right answer to this big question, but here's my personal take. I developed a model for understanding this only recently after discovering that I am finally attracting my right work, which feels especially sweet after living through the hell of years in an unhappy corporate career.
Here are the six essential steps to attracting your "right" work:
1. Figure out who you are and what you want
I'm sorry to have to say this, but right work doesn't just fall in your lap. The first requirement is that you must be fully aware and conscious of your own talents, abilities, passions and worthiness to recognize (and reach out and grab) right work when it comes your way. You also have to believe that you have something valuable to offer the world, and that now's your time to offer it, even if you're not sure what that looks like exactly.
How do you know who you are and what you have to offer? Step back and take a full inventory of your life and work, and discover the core themes and strands that will help you connect all the dots.
2. Follow Your Intuition, Spirit and Passion
I'd be a millionaire if I had a penny for every time someone told me it is wrong to follow your passion. Well, those folks are dead wrong. You're here for a limited time on this earth, and you weren't meant to be miserable every day of it. You're supposed to be enjoying your life, relishing your life adventures, giving of your enormous talents, and making an impact in the world in ways that matter to you. Here's a harsh reality: if you don't like your work, you can't like your life. Check out Sir Richard Branson's latest piece on LinkedIn for The Class of 2013: You'll Never Again Be So Unburdened; Do Something Bold. I'm with him -- spend your time working on what you're passionate about. (For those ready to write me that this is nonsense, please save your breath -- and your fingers. I know differently.)
3. Act Boldly
This third step is critical. When an opportunity comes your way, you've got to seize it, and not waffle and whine and obsess that you're not sure. You've got to jump. I'll give you an example of this. A few years ago, I really wanted to write for Forbes and a number of other renowned online publications. Try as I might, I couldn't get it to happen. Then, one day, as a member of a fabulous networking group 85 Broads, I got an email from them inviting members to submit a post for their 85 Broads Forbes blog. I jumped that day, and submitted a post, which got accepted. A few weeks later, I wrote another post on Busting the 8 Damaging Myths About What LinkedIn Can Do For Your Career, and submitted it. It was published, and the thing went viral and got over 50,000 views. The next week, the ForbesWoman editor wrote me, "Do you want your own blog?"
I was thrilled, but very scared. "Am I ready? Do I have enough to say? Who's going to care about what I write?" I was worried. But I didn't hesitate. I replied, "Yes, thank you!" immediately, and moved forward in the face of those fears, and have loved every minute of contributing to ForbesWoman and ForbesLeadership since. The key? Act boldly, and don't hesitate when "right" work enters into your sphere.
4. Shine Your Special Light and Be of Service
The fourth step in attracting right work is to give, give, give of yourself. Use your talents, find your unique voice and use it without reservation, and shine the light that's inside of you out in the world in service of it. Sitting home at your computer looking for a job isn't how you'll attract right work. Approaching everyone you know with your hand out won't do it either. You've got to find ways to offer your talents in the community, to help people who need you, and demonstrate what you have to give. But all along, do it in the most authentic way you can. In other words, start being more of yourself in the world.
5. Expand Yourself to Energetically Match the Opportunities
When you begin taking the above steps, you'll find that new, bigger opportunities will start showing up. You'll be amazed, you'll scratch your head and wonder, "Did that really just happen?" But it won't keep happening unless you endeavor to stretch, grow, and become more, so you're an energetic match to the more expansive experiences that are coming to you. How do you grow? Open your eyes, learn the lessons your life is trying to teach you, and fully process and integrate your new learning. Get helpful critique and support, close your power gaps, ask people you admire to offer their insights on how you can grow and stretch. Always be a student of your life, every day.
6. Rinse and Repeat
Once you're committed to this path, your growth will happen in a surprising cycle, of:
- Discovering what you're capable of
- Following what you care about
- Acting courageously to pursue your passions
- Being of service in new ways
- Expanding yourself to be able to take on the right work
- Learning and processing the new insights you're gaining
- "Rinsing" off the debris from the journey, and starting it all over again to launch to the next level
You never "arrive." It's a never-ending, enlivening process that keeps delivering to you more and more opportunities to relish life, make your unique impact, find new happiness, make new friends and colleagues you love and respect, and use your talents in service of others.
So, is the idea of "attracting right work" just a platitude offering solace to desperate careerists? No -- it's the only way to live your life if you want the happiness, success and reward you dream of.
Are you readying yourself for your right work? Please share YOUR stories of attracting the right work. We can all learn from your experiences.