Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pursuing Excellence

I was recently listening to a podcast from Michael Hyatt entitled The 3 Components of Job Satisfaction. In the episode, he says, "If you have all three of these components—passion, competence, and a market—you experience satisfaction." 

So often, I think that we compartmentalize our lives, seeing formal schooling or training as building competence, finding our market in business only, and developing our passion in our free time. In a world where everything is so specialized, it can be easy to lose sight of the whole picture.

But I love this quote from James Michener because it blurs the lines between all aspects of how we live:

"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both. ”

That one line - "He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does" - is critical to job satisfaction, and it is precisely what we discussed at the One2 Conference last week. 

If you strive to be an excellent learner, you will build competence because you will seek to learn in every situation, both at and outside of work. By building excellent relationships, you will also have a keen understanding of the market and what potential customers or clients need. And as you engage with others around your work and explore new ideas for excellence, your passion will grow. As this blog post from Brazen Careerist says, "Passion is nothing more than curiosity and engagement over time." 

When you pursue excellence, you don’t want to half-heartedly develop new skills or knowledge. You can’t be only partly passionate. And as Michael Hyatt says, you either know your market or you welcome obsoleteness.

So how can you pursue excellence today in one of these three areas – passion, competence, and market?

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” –Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

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