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There’s a myriad of different personalities that you can find at your place of business, but you can always form 2 camps; The ones that would die for the cause, and the ones that are there because that’s where they ended up. The thing that separates them most is that one group loves what they do, and one group does not. The former views their role as a calling, something bigger than the actual job title itself. A great way to make this point is in the difference between, a deli employee and a “Sandwich Artist” or a janitor and a “Master of the Custodial Arts”. Same job, same place, but the role occurs radically different to the ones that find meaning in their work.

Peak performers can exist in both groups, but it’s obvious that the ones that see their job as something special are much more likely to out perform the “clock watchers”. This is because the individuals that view their work as a calling are significantly more satisfied with their jobs, and lives. They’re more engaged in what their doing, leading them to notice things that other’s don’t and go the extra mile doing things others won’t as they embrace the vision of the organization, instead of just checking the boxes in the areas that they are responsible for.

So do you have to luck into your calling, or search it out so you can be happy? Not at all! While that can, and does happen, you can actually craft the role you currently have to experience it as something that is meaningful and satisfying. It’s simple, but does take some courage!

You can add enjoyment to your work by altering how the job occurs to you in your own head. How you think about what the work even is. This concept is the work of Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor of organizational behavior at Yale. The term that she uses to describe it is “cognitive crafting”. Think of it as what you name your title, and what you tell people that you do for a living. Do you say the job title and quote the job description from the HR manual, or do you reply with something almost abstract, and something that you’re damn proud of? An example from professor Wrzesniewski’s study is: I work at a hospital, vs I’m a healer! Consider this a type of litmus test of whether or not someone is currently creating a view of their work that they can enjoy.

A person that does view their role as much more than what the title actually implies will alter the boundaries of the job itself in a way that makes it extremely rewarding. Here’s where that courage comes in. Much of this is actually doing things that can be deemed against the rules. Doing something that is outside your scope of work that adds value to what the company is trying to do. And it doesn’t actually have to be adding, or expanding your workload. It is often more purposeful to trim out, or delegate some of the things that may be defined as “part of the job” but over time you have come to realize aren’t essential to achieving the things that the organization wants done at a high level. It’s not just following the rules, but truly setting out to make a difference in an area that you find passion in pursuing! It’s not just doing what’s asked of you, but crafting it in a way that brings about love and happiness.

A great place to start to find some job crafting opportunities is to use the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. The secret I find is to use it 2 directions, forward and backward…

Forward: What 20% of your actions lead to 80% of your results? What 20% of accounts lead to 80% of revenue? What 20% of products lead to 80% of the sales.

Backward: What 20% of your responsibilities lead to 80% of your problems? What 20% of accounts lead to 80% of your complaints? What 20% of products lead to 80% of workload?

The reason for using it forward and backward is because it can help you focus your efforts on the things that are actually important instead of the things that on appear important. It may be adding something to these areas and expanding how you treat them. It may also be cutting away from the things that don’t cause much positive effect on your area of responsibility. You can then spend the time on the things that matter, bring results, and bring you joy!

Turning your job into a calling will require you to put yourself out there. It will add some risk to your professional life, but it’s an insignificantly small risk compared to the large payoff of loving what you do! To give a little guidance on embracing your vision, and the cause of finding joy and passion in that job, I’m going to leave you with a quote that I love from Tim Ferriss, “Get good at being a trouble maker and saying sorry when you really screw up.”


If you’d like to get a Monday Morning message from me with 3 strategies to prime you for a killer week, then sign up for my free Monday Morning 3 Point Primer.

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