What Were You Born to Do?

In the video clip, “Do what you love” by Tom Kelly, he refers to Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. He speaks about the diagram from that book which suggests a way to discern for ourselves what we were born to do. Kelly proposed three questions we should be asking ourselves:

  • What are you good at – what are your core competencies?
  • What are you born to do – when are you the happiest?
  • What will people pay you to do?

By finding where the answers to these three questions intersect, we will probably find our true calling. He added one more item to this list: the people with whom you will work. I am fortunate that I am doing the type of work I enjoy doing and I am paid well for it. I also work with some very good people who add to the enjoyment of the work. However, there are a few people I work with who, by their very nature, can make people around them as miserable as they are.

As a child, I always enjoyed fixing things. I studied for a career in information technology and once I entered the work place, I quickly realized that coding programs was not for me. However, I applied my skills to solving business problems in the workplace, and people were willing to pay me for it.

The question that most people ask themselves is, what am I born to do? Following that question, they ask, how can I find out for myself what I am born to do?

Again referring to Jim Collins, Tom Kelly said that Collins kept a record about himself for two years. He noted the times and activities when he was happiest. After two years of observation, he discovered he was happiest when he was teaching and when he was involved with systems. So Collins left his company, Hewlett Packard, and became a teacher of computer systems at Stanford.

Kelly suggests that we need to observe ourselves over a period of time and determine for ourselves what makes us the happiest.

The book, The Ministry of Business calls this, “finding your oil”. When we do what we good at with a passion that drives our motivation, we will exceed the performance of others who are simply doing a job.


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