Finding Work that Matters!
Hi friends.... We alll work... but what really matters is finding the work that really matters... the article below will help you move in that direction...
ravi | www.teamACT.org | www.ziceholidays.com
Panning for Gold - Finding Work that Matters!
Our company has met with several clients on a weekly basis. These companies are composed of all sizes, and are from many different industries. What has become very apparent for all of them is that a lot of people are suffering from "initiative burnout" as a result of mergers, acquisitions and culture changes. To further complicate their issues, there are a lot of disconnected training efforts being initiated that create confusion among their workforce.
A well-known artist named Annie Lee has a figurine called 'Blue Monday.' This figurine shows a woman sitting on the edge of her bed, hunched over...weary before her day even begins. Does this sound familiar? What is your Monday morning like? Are you excited? Jazzed? Enthralled with what the day can bring? Or, are you more like the 'Blue Monday' figurine - but throughout the entire week? Your work life doesn't have to be like this!
When we speak with people in organizations, they tell us that they really want to make a difference; they want to do work that is meaningful and that adds value. People in the workforce are starved to find meaningful work. People need work that gets them energized and excited to go to work every day. What are people looking for? In a recent conversation with someone about their work, it was noted that he became very excited when he started to talk about the projects he was working on. These projects gave him a creative outlet. The work was intense, it allowed him to interact with people of diversity, and perhaps most important of all - he had freedom of expression. Despite the fact that there were many things he couldn't resolve in his work, the opportunities presented to him kept him excited. The work mattered to him!
We all have many projects that we could work on. The key is finding the right one. We think of this as "Panning for Gold." We all spend too much time working on the "stuff" that doesn't matter - and fail to spend enough time panning through our work to pull out those gems - those "Golden Nugget" projects that will make a difference. When we can identify those "Golden Nuggets" and focus our attention and energy on them, we start to find excitement, joy, and purpose...and become energized in our work.
Stop being robotic! Stop doing the "same old stuff!" You haven't taken the time to look at the work you are doing, and to begin to think about it in a new light. Robert Cooper, author of The Other 90%, says:
"Nothing brings out hidden qualities like passion does...many of us have lost touch with the zeal that can bring out our best."
Think back to the time of the Old West....the Gold Rush. Once news got out that there was a vein of gold identified, people from all walks of life left their jobs in anticipation of the gold they would find in the West. Most folks worked out of the streams that ran from the mountains where the gold was found. With their metal pan (with a sieve in the bottom), they scooped up the water and gravel from the bottom of the stream, sifted out the water, and rummaged through what was left hoping to find gold nuggets. In many cases the sun shined on the gold, making it flicker and glitter, allowing the prospector to see them more clearly. THAT is how to bring the passion back into your work life - Find the projects that are "Golden Nuggets" that will attract others to it. Become the gold vein for others!
Here's how to bring passion and zeal back into your work:
1. Pan: Make a list of all the projects you are currently working on. Look at them from a new perspective. Remember, we are trying to find the "Golden Nuggets!" Rate these projects based on their impact to the organization. Ask yourself, "Does this project matter? Does it make a difference? Will it add value? Is this project aligned with the key goals and objectives for the organization?" Keep panning until you sift up the "Golden Nuggets" - the projects that really matter.
2. Re-Frame: Reframe the project! In other words, connect with other people inside and outside of your organization, and discuss how you can make your projects ("Golden Nuggets") even better. As Doug Hall from Eureka Ranch would say: "Make this project dramatically different." Go for the gold! You want these projects to be memorable and to leave a legacy.
3. Sell: The easiest way to get excited about a project is to sell it to someone else. That forces us to think about what is important about the project, and why the project matters. Sit down and develop a compelling 3-minute pitch that highlights the benefits of the project and why you are in love with it. If you can't get excited about your own project, neither will anyone else! Practice the pitch with a friend. Once you feel comfortable with it, share the pitch with someone who understands nothing about the project. This will allow you to determine how clear your pitch is. Lastly, refine your pitch, print it out (in color), and put it in a visible place to remind you of why this project matters.
4. Celebrate: As you move along in life, find little wins to celebrate along the way. Take time to notice what your peers and co-workers are doing, and make it a point to acknowledge their achievements. When we do something good for someone else, not only do we feel better, but we have also made the day of someone else. Adding joy to another's life will add joy to yours.
Work doesn't have to be mundane and boring. We just have to take the time to look at where and how we are spending our time. Are we working on the "Golden Nuggets," or are we working on golden flecks...the little stuff? The projects we work on can have a big impact on our attitudes. Pan to find the "Golden Nuggets," get excited about work again, and celebrate and enjoy life!
Valarie D. Willis
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