What Should You Do With Your Life?

My answer to the question raised in the title is simple—but not
easy. It is to work at your own point of “intersection.”

To get a visual of what I’m talking about, check out the photos
on the wall of the
Mark Strong Coaching
Facebook
page. Two images on the wall show interlocking circles, which
give two different examples of the same idea. The idea is that what you should
do with your life can be found at the intersection of a few key concepts.

Depending on your values, you might feel more closely aligned with
one of these “intersection” images than the other. Let’s start with the simpler
of the two images, and see if this resonates for you:

What
are some things you should do?
I posed this question on the
Mark Strong Coaching Facebook page in December. Take a look at the three red
interlocking circles on the MSC wall. They suggest that the best things for you
to do will be clear when you discover what’s at the intersection of:

  • Things you like to do
  • Things you do especially well
  • Things you can do that also help society

This version of “the intersection” may appeal to you if you
place a high importance on seeing the outcome of your work reflected in the
world around you. This approach takes your preferences and talents into
account, as well as the greater good. It does not take financial compensation into
account, reflecting the idea that if you “do what you love, the money will
follow.”

How to
win.
The above version of circles takes a global focus into account.
The other version of circles on the MSC wall (which is a series of yellow
interlocking circles) takes more of a financial focus. It’s not for us to judge
which approach is superior. Instead, think through which approach is right for
you at this time in your life. It may change over time.

Money is almost always an important component of our financial decisions,
and rightly so. Without appropriate compensation, we may find ourselves doing
something we’re good at doing—and perhaps even something we love to do as
well—but be unable to financially support ourselves.

When I posted this version of circles on the MSC wall in
December, I captioned it, “How to win.” To get to the win, consider what you
love and what you are good at, just as in the example of the red circles above.
But for this version, you must also consider what kind of work pays well as part
of your equation.

This version of “the intersection” exercise includes an
additional layer. It makes the point that if you only combine two of the three
considerations, you won’t end up in the center of the circles with a “win.” Here
are examples of bad combos:

  • If you only consider what you’re good at and what you love, and
    fail to consider the financial aspect, you may feel satisfied with your work,
    but end up struggling to make ends meet
  • If you consider only what you do well and what pays well, but
    neglect to consider passion for your profession, then you may end up
    financially strong, but unfulfilled
  • If you decide do something you love that also pays well, but you
    don’t have a strong enough skill set to really excel in that kind of work, then
    your dream job may quickly become a nightmare

 

Use these
intersection exercises to help you discover what’s at the center of your circles
in the New Year.