In 2007 I was fortunate to hear coach-of-the-year Michael Bungay Stanier speak briefly. He talked for about twenty minutes, but I only remember one line … and it has inspired vast changes in the way I spend my time. Michael said something like:
“You have to say ‘no’ to good work, to make room for Great Work“
Huh? Isn’t good work enough? I can tell you, from experience: the difference between good and Great work is measured in orders of magnitude. Here’s how Michael described it:
“You know what Great Work is. You’ve probably had a few of these moments in your life. You’ve had times when you felt alive, passionate and powerful because you knew that you had just done something really great.
… it’s the stuff you dreamed about when you first started this career.
… it’s work you’re proud about, excited about, that means something to you
… it’s making a difference.
… it’s doing the stuff that matters.”
Now: my Great Work is not your Great Work. That’s why they don’t teach this at university – there’s no test or best practice to tell you what to look for. But in fact it is rather simple to find your Great Work… if you will dedicate some time for reflection and step outside your comfort zone to learn new habits.
We don’t do Great Work all day long. We all need to do ordinary work too – make supper, wash the car, participate in status meetings. When you know what your Great Work is, these ordinary tasks can be satisfying when they prepare you to do more Great Work. On the other hand: if they don’t do that, you can phase out those tasks to make room for your
Good Work, and to make you ready to accept it when it comes along.
It’s easy to start!
If you like to learn from books, here are two suggestions: download my self-coaching workbook to get vibrantly in touch with what matters to you. Then: work your way through a copy of Bungay Stanier’s book Do More Great Work. It contains 13 simple and visual self-coaching exercises – to help you focus and make more satisfying choices. Download his “maps” pdf, work through them with a buddy – and see what happens!
Why is a professional coach suggesting that you coach yourself? Because the sooner we all start tapping into our passion, the sooner the grey world of work will start to shift to a “new normal” of vibrant colours. And that’s what I wish for you and those around you.
On the other hand, if you’re like me, you somehow never get around to reading all the good books on your coffee table … so …
If you prefer to work collaboratively, in real time, then the kind of phone coaching I offer may help. Arrange a sample vision session to see if my style works for you. And I always recommend sampling several coaches to find a good fit. This is part of how the coaching community works, and I will be happy to help you find qualified people you can trust.