Knowing what You were Made to Do
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; instead, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is a person who has come alive.” – John Eldrege
Enough of what is “hot out there”! Isn’t it time you gave preference to what is “boiling within”? Eric Liedl, star of the Oscar-winning movie “Chariots of Fire” (based on a true story), is confronted by his sister just before his Olympic run as to why he is apparently abandoning his calling as a missionary to China. With all gentleness yet full conviction he tells his sister: “God made me a missionary, but he also made me fast. When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”
Fill in the blank, “When I ___________. I feel God’s pleasure.
It’s not what’s out there; it’s what’s in you.
As Andy Fereria, co-writer of mine in this magazine will tell you, it’s not his list of what business to pursue that matters; rather, kung ano ang hilig mo. It is where you have the core competency, where your passion rests, where your joy lies, and in all probability, where your riches will come from!
Career management experts agree that one of the best ways to discover one’s giftedness is to go back to the game one enjoyed most as a child. For when we were children, we were ourselves. As we grow up, we tend to “conform” to other people’s standards. We begin to talk a certain way, dress in conformity with others, even think in a manner that pleases the majority (remember the tragic “Groupthink” mentality?). This further supports the idea that when one explores business options for the future, it is not some guru’s list that matters, but what one has been gifted with, experienced and most able to execute.
The idea of meeting a need of the market can be disastrous, if one wasn’t meant to meet that need in the first place. Remember the shawarma craze? Or when a sago franchise was the only way to go? An yet how many have survived, and continue to grow the business? Nothing wrong with the product-business per se… but an excellent business strategy should never be separate from the ability to execute it. This, in fact, is one of the key messages of Larry Bossidy, in his best selling business book, Execution: The Disciple of Getting Things Done. Or have you heard of the Mafia Offer? The offer no customer ever refuses (for no one refuses the mafia!). There are only 2 components to the Mafia Offer. First, Core Need (of customer). Second, Core Competence (of supplier/entrepreneur). We need to be confident that we have what it takes to deliver on any business commitment we make.
Jim Collins, in his latest book Good to Great, shares with us 3 fundamentals of “Greatness” in any endeavor in life:
- Passion (What you’d do even without pay!)
- Excellence (Can be best in the world)
- Economic Developer (A Value to Others)
I spent some time looking at these fundamentals, even engaging Jim in discussion as they intrigued me no end. (He was a guest in an American Society for Training and Development Convention where I participated not only as a delegate but as a member of the press).
Since that meeting I developed a simple criteria for helping one decide on potential business options. These criteria are embodied in 5 questions one should ask when considering a business decision or choosing among alternatives:
C Have I CONTRIBUTED in a similar area in the past?
E Have I EXCELED in this before?
N Am I a NATURAL in this activity or engagement?
T Does this TURNS me on? (C’mon, it is okay to ask that!)
S Is my SPIRIT within at peace with this decision?
If your answer is Yes to all questions as you consider a business option, then I encourage you to go for it! The more Nods, the less weight you should give that option. To others it may be an opportunity; to you, it is most probably a distraction!
So, what makes you come alive dear reader? Whatever that may be, I offer the words of Management Guru, Tom Peters: “Ready, FIRE!, Aim.”