On the Many Joys of "This Work" and "That Work"
One of the greatest myths that I encounter as a coach is that the only way to be successful is to be relentlessly single minded about what we’re doing and where we’re going; we should stick to our knitting, do one thing at a time and never, ever, lose focus.
I suppose that is one way to be successful in certain aspects of life.
But is it the way to be successful as a human being?
I think not.
Because this notion that we have to do and be just one thing is one of the main reasons why people who to the outside world appear to be singularly successful, actually feel stuck and dissatisfied with their lives.
One thing I know for sure is that the most successful humans I encounter are those who when discussing their lives and careers make repeated references to what they call “this work” and “that work”.
It turns out that it is possible to be successful at more than one thing at a time; as long as those things are in alignment with our values and driven by a sense of deep purpose.
And I’m not talking solely about the Elon Musks and Oprah Winfreys of the world.
I’m talking about my friend Jake Kahana who does “this work” as a freelance designer and also “that work” as the co-founder of Caveday, a company dedicated to maximizing productivity for organizations and individuals.
Or my client, we’ll call her Penelope, who does “this work” as a digital strategy consultant and also does “that work” helping creative people realize their full value so they can price their work appropriately.
Or my husband, who does “this work” as a television executive and also does “that work” as a successful artist.
And now it’s my turn. In addition to doing “this work” as a leadership coach, I’m about to embark on “that work” as the founder of something called The Expansive Woman Project.
"This work" and "that work" allows us to pay the bills while at the same time expressing our creative selves, learning new things and being of service. In other words, it fulfills our higher needs for growth and contribution. And yes, it requires more work, more time and more commitment. But it's so worth it. And, in the long-term it's possible that our "that work" will become our primary "this work". And then we can find a new "that work".
How fun. How fulfilling. What a lovely way to manage a career.
Now think about your own life. Is there some kind of “that work” that you’ve been denying yourself? Have you bought into the notion that we can only do and be one thing? Do you have the passion and capacity for something more?
If the answer is yes, then why not do it?