During a coaching session this week, I said to my client, ” Life is best when we are in our sweet spot.” My client was explaining to me why he wanted to transition out of his current management role — and return to an individual contributor role. He wasn’t happy in the management role and it wasn’t playing to his strengths. But, it was hard for him to admit it. So, I asked, him, “Is it possible that you don’t enjoy managing others?” He went on to explain unconvincingly that he did like managing others and then lost his train of thought. After a long pause, I asked, “What if it’s perfectly fine that you don’t get a lot of joy or satisfaction from managing others? He replied, “I guess it is fine, but I feel like others will judge me if I don’t like it.” As soon as he finished his sentence, he laughed a little and said, “That’s ridiculous.” And, we both laughed together.
Then, I asked, “Can you tell me what gives you the most joy and satisfaction at work? My client replied quickly and easily. When he finished, I said, “Now, that’s your sweet spot.”
Do you know what your sweet spot is? To help my clients get clear, I have them finish these three statements about their work:
- When I’m _____________I am joyful and satisfied.
- My unique talents are ___________________________ .
- When I’m doing ________________________I am providing the most value to my work (and the world).
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi author “Flow” ask us to find out what we love to do and then keep working hard in that area. He says it’s critical that we keep challenging ourselves. It’s important to know that our sweet spot isn’t a place of idleness – it’s the place where our joy and strengths fuel our work. Here are some interesting examples of how these questions could be answered. The first one is my own.
- When I’m helping others lead a more fulfilling life I am joyful and satisfied.
- My unique talents are inspiration and acceptance.
- When I’m helping others get closer to themselves I am providing the most value in the world.
- When I’m walking in nature I am joyful and satisfied.
- My unique talents are a deep appreciation and knowledge of forestry science.
- When I’m educating and engaging others on climate change and the environment I am providing the most value in the world.
- When I’m writing I am joyful and satisfied.
- My unique talent is crafting powerful messages that change the way people think.
- When I’m using my writing to create positive change I am providing the most value in the world.