Winning my third gold medal wasn’t the same thrill as winning the first but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still fun to do. I had to learn/accept that it was just different. As a career matures, so must ones understanding of where the ‘fun’ comes from. If you think your career is void of joy chances are you’ll start feeling as if you’re grinding away, stuck in a rut and missing out on something. If you know how to find the joy in your career, even as that joy manifests itself differently over time, chances are you’ll remain curious, engaged and moving forward – and forward is fun!
Recently, when I was putting together a presentation for the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) I wasn’t convinced that talking about Starting Happy so that you can Finish Happy would entice a bunch of lawyers to come to the luncheon where I was to speak. This topic isn’t about trying to be all skip-happy with a giddy smile but upon introduction it might sound that way. It is a discussion about confidence in your preparation, dealing with hard conversations, anticipating change and challenge and knowing that you are the ‘someone’ that you’ve been waiting for. These four pillars create a “Start happy” foundation that is likely to lead to accomplishing your goals thus “Finishing Happy”. Still, I felt that idea of a discussion of being happy wouldn’t draw the lawyers in.
I then considered going with my core message, which is about a relentless pursuit of more. I was pretty sure that if I came at the lawyers with a presentation on doing more I’d lose the room too. This is a group of people who pride themselves on an extended and grueling education followed by a career of long days often clocking 60hr workweeks. If I pushed ‘more’ on this group – they might start throwing their buns at me!
The Start Happy/Finish Happy presentation had come from a conversation that I’d had in Sochi, which turned out to have a great impact on more than one person. I often use moments like that, concepts or ideas that come from interactions with ambitious driven people, as the foundation for the various speaking presentations that I give. The concept of more was no different. It came from my own experiences and was reinforced over the years by observations and conversations with many athletes that I’ve worked with. The idea is that when you’ve ambition to achieve a goal, when you get to that point where you think you’ve done everything, there is always a bit more that you can do; do more, be more, try more, learn more. But happiness and more just didn’t seem to be right to use as the framework for my OBA presentation.
Both concepts ‘Start Happy’ and ‘More’ apply to lawyers as much as anyone but I wanted to come at them from a different angle. So my brain stepped back from lessons that I had taken from isolated moments and considered my whole career of observed (and experienced) moments. It was one of the first times that I’d looked at it that way and I was struck by a sort of a-ha moment. Continue reading