I feel very honoured to have been asked to to a talk for sixth formers at a local school next week. The talk is to be about business and careers and is one of a series of talks being given by local business people ranging from the CEO of a shipping company to a self employed physiotherapist.
I went to see the teacher responsible last week. I have all sorts of clever structures in my mind that would share three lessons I have learned about business and careers on my journey. The teacher was infectiously enthusiastic and open to whatever I chose to discuss. He explained that as an international school the students futures are particularly diverse and that they have found it difficult to organise work placements, so these talks are a substitute that has been very well received.
Our discussion opened my mind and I thought more deeply about what I have really learned and what is truly important. My clever structure collapsed from three themed stories to a single thought.
The single most important lesson that I have learned is love. Love is the bit beyond the transactional, the bit where intangibles start, like hope, loyalty and passion. If we want these in our life we have to be open to love.
Whatever we are going to do with our lives for a career we have to love it. As Steve Jobs said in is memorable Stamford address, “you’ve got to do great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. You’ve got to find what you love and if you haven’t found it keep looking.”
Loving what we do isn’t only about doing great work, it is also about how we show up. If we love what we do, we are also likely to become good at it, the combination of loving what we do being good at it will mean that we can become confident. When we are confident our relationships and decisions are not influenced by fear, which allows us to nurture others and make decisions that reflect the greater good. Leaders who love and are confident in what they do, inspire success in others creating a virtuous circle in their communities and organisations.
It is not just about loving what we do, but also loving who we are. If we always do our best, guided by our values we will be proud of what we do and if we are proud of what we do, it will feed another virtuous circle that makes us proud of who we are. If we are proud of who we are will will also be able to love ourselves.
If we love who we are and what we do then we have no reason to be anything other than authentic. When we are authentic, we can be open and true about who we are, what we stand for, what we care about, what our values are, what we like, want and hope for. When we can be authentic we present our true self to the world, which means that when someone else who is also authentic falls in love with us, it is for real. They are not falling in love with an image or a projection but our truth. This love is the most empowering experience we can have. The joining of two individuals in a single unit with shared ambitions hopes and dreams as well as support for each others.
So, my message to the students is to follow the love.
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