They say that it is great when the job you do to make a living just doesn’t feel like work at all. When you do what you love and you even get paid to do it. And that if you are one of the few people who can say this, then you are part of a privileged group of people who have found their calling in life.
I’ve tried to do just that for a long time, just tried to find that which would make me feel absolutely satisfied with what I was doing. And to be hones, even though I’ve been fortunate enough to have really great jobs, I had never been able to fully say I was finally doing what I loved to do. Or in Paulo Coelho’s words fulfilling my personal legend… Until a couple of years ago, when I understood that, that which fulfilled me the most was to help develop human talent and leaders, to coach and help other professionals and to build and narrate success stories for and with them.
That was how my career in advertising took a new meaning. Since then, I learned that my work was not just to create communication campaigns for my clients; any good advertising professional can do that, but to build deeper connections with my clients and their brands. So I started to not limit myself to requesting comprehensive briefs, creating excellent campaign proposals and delivering a flawless execution. I stopped working for my clients and started working with them, learning from them and sharing with them whatever I knew too. And it was precisely in that last step that I realized that my job was starting to not feel as work. I was now helping others not just create great communication campaigns, but I was helping to develop the talent in these people and in me as well!
And just last week was a great example of this for me. First by delivering a marketing and innovation seminar for the marketing team at The Walt Disney Company Mexico, then by presenting an on-line marketing workshop for the Tec de Monterrey college students and delivering a closing key note on Personal Branding for their “Enlace Empresarial 2008” conferences too; and finally by speaking about on-line marketing too, at Draft FCB’s Latin America Regional conference in Cancun.
Now I do have to say that one thing I’ve found about getting to feel like you are not working at all, is that to do so, you do have to work very, very hard, preparing yourself, knowing and studying yourself, learning, planning, executing, tracking, etc.
I know that, in my particular case, I still have a long way to go and that I’m just at the beginning of the path I want to follow. But that said, I did want to share a couple of steps I’ve found to be key to get to this point in which I start to feel that my job is more pleasure than work:
1- Identify your talents and strengths and focus on developing them: sadly we lose a lot of time repeating to ourselves that we are not good at something and then we tragically spend a lot of time trying to get better at that, instead of working on our strengths…what for if I’m already good at that?...WRONG!!! We could not be making a bigger mistake. Can you imagine Micheal Phelps trying to compete in gymnastics instead of swimming?
Find your talents and let them come out, then practice them and practice them some more until you master them.
2- Find your niche: Once you know what your talents are, now that you know what are the things you are really good at; try to understand how you can use them to help others. Just like it works with products and brands, your talents are your differentiator versus the rest. They are what, in the marketing lingo is known as your unique promise or key brand benefit, that which differentiates a brand from another and helps it ad value to its consumers. If you focus on creating that added value through your talents and use them to help others, people will start looking for ways to connect with you a whole lot more.
Now, the question many of you might be asking right now is: And how exactly can I use my talents and my Niche to make a living and tend to my family’s needs? How can my talents help me get the financial stability I need?
In the mean time, I am sure of one thing, I know I’m in the right path. Now, I don’t know if this path will take me to continue being employed as I am today. I have no idea if it will lead me to stay where I am or if it will lead me to join a different company or maybe even to become independent. But I am sure that while these answers come my way, I will keep enjoying my job, because to me, I am doing what I love for work and I’m even getting paid to do it!