My colleagues and I talk frequently about this blog… how we should use it, what we should write about, how much to share with our readers. And the vast majority of the time, we default to straight business topics, with real anecdotes from real experiences with our clients. This is a business blog, first and foremost.
But occasionally, including as recently as last week, I roam around a little and make it a little more personal. From time to time, I have shared a personal experience, from life with my kids, my wife, and occasionally my late father and our complicated relationship. I always try to tie it back to a business lesson, of course, but I must admit that I do enjoy writing the occasional “personal post.” I think it is more valuable for you, and more fun for me, to share the occasional, completely transparent, honest insight gained from a personal experience. I think it makes this blog more real.
In a few hours, I head off on a long-overdue, much-anticipated vacation with my family. My colleagues and I have been working extremely hard for the last several months, and each of us has been enjoying some vacation time this month. My turn at vacation starts in about five hours. We have been sprinting for the last eight months, busier than we have ever been. And we are tired.
All of us — you, me, everyone — gets to that point where we have been working hard, for a long time, and the break is absolutely necessary. And when I get to those points, I find it incredibly valuable to remind myself what I love about my work. When I am rested, and we are cranking along, and our workshops and our coaching assignments are going great, it is easy to say “I love this. I love what I do.” But after several months without a break, lots of travel, day after day after day of facilitating for clients and being “on,” it is harder to find that joy.
So what I started doing a few months ago was keeping a list. I keep a list of reasons why I love what I do, and I have it inside this tiny little notebook that comes with me everywhere I go. In this notebook, I write down blog ideas, important things I don’t want to forget, content or teaching ideas. And in the back on the last page, I keep a running list of reasons why I love to teach persuasive communication skills. The specifics on that list are probably better kept between me and my notebook. But the point of today’s post is to share with you the idea that keeping an actual list of why you love your job will be a great help on your worst days. Because on our bad days, it is easy to forget why we do what we do. On the good days, it is easy. The list isn’t meant for the good days. It is meant for the bad days, when that voice inside your head keeps saying “I’m tired,” “I don’t want to be here.”
As regular readers of this blog know, I have a long history with the Olympic Sailing Team. And one of the life lessons I took away from my 18 years with the national sailing team was that one of the things that differentiates the mediocre competitor from the elite competitor is the ability to concentrate and perform on the worst days, when we aren’t at our best. And I find that a little list of reminders helps me find the joy in my work on those days. Everyone has good days and bad days. But our ability to get ourselves through the bad days and still deliver for clients is critical to long term success.
Good luck, and have a great day.