Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Have you ever had the experience of looking at the price tag on some new invention you thought of 10 years ago? And didn’t do? It happens to me alot.

For instance, back in 1976, when my husband started his career as a Barrie-to-Toronto commuter, we mused about buying a little piece of land at the Essa Rd-Highway 400 cutoff. We’d put up a little booth there and people could just drive past and we’d hand them their coffee and newspaper. It seemed a bit like dreaming, of course, and we’d just mortgaged ourselves for life to buy a $28,000 house on Penetang St. Getting another mortgage to buy a piece of land to set up a drive through coffee shop seemed awfully pie-in-the-sky…

And now, Barrie residents roll up the rim on virtually every street corner in the city.

Well, you can’t accuse me of having lack of vision… you might be able to hit me with lack of initiative.

I had the same feeling of déjà vu recently when I was browsing through some books in a bookstore and saw the cover of a tome entitled Do What You Love. Of course, I’ve been preaching that, and living the adage out, all my life. If the book had my title, it would read… “Do What You Love and The Money Will Follow.” I believe this, I really do. If we do what we love, we get really good at it and that makes us feel good which makes us even better at it and the things that feed our self esteem lead us into excellence. It’s sort of my mantra. But, it’s somebody else’s book.

I’m blessed these days in my professional life to be able to provide people with a rung on their ladder to self actualization. By interviewing people and finding out what they’re really good at and what they love to do, I’m able to help open some doors, run some connective tissue between people, and watch the action occur. It’s wonderful work. It’s work that leads me into my area of excellence.

So, I don’t harbour grudges for those whose initiative produces drive-through coffee shops and books about passionate work. And, when I heard Denise Bissonnette speak at a conference in January, I was equally enthusiastic about her message. I thought this week that I’d share Denise’s philosophy for Cultivating True Livelihood, which is the title of her workshop in which I was a participant. Denise also has a number of publications in print. She speaks all over the place and has managers in Canada and the United States.

Denise enthralled her audience in January by sharing a medley of one-liners we can use to assess our current work happiness. She suggests that if we use our answers in our everyday working lives, we’ll ensure job happiness because we’ll be focussed on what we’re really good at.

I believe her.

So… with that in mind, here are a few of the beginnings of sentences. Fill in the ending and check out your job happiness.

I’m very happy when I … Some of the qualities I most want to bring to my work situation are … My dream job will allow me to … I have always admired people who … My greatest achievement this year was …

Denise goes on to help us figure out what gives our lives meaning. When I discuss this with people I suggest they take a minute to write their own obituary, to note down the things they want to be remembered for. It’s an insightful activity and often lets us see how much we’re working against who we want to be.

For instance, she suggests we ask ourselves

Something I’d like to be remembered for in my life is … If I were to receive an award, it would be for …

Then she takes us into a series of questions that help us set goals for ourselves. Try this:

One thing I’d like to accomplish by next week is … If money were not an issue, I would probably … I have always dreamed that I would be …

Denise also has a series of self determining questions geared to helping us uncover activities that we’ve lost sight of on our way to making the rent and the car payments.

If I were to die tomorrow, something I would regret not having done is … If I could do anything at all for a living it would be … I think I was born to …

Not letting that rest, she moves us towards our goals.

Three little things I could do each day to prepare myself for what I want is …

When I get discouraged, what I need to pick up my spirits is … In order to reach my goals, I’m going to have to …

She then unlocks our dreams by teaching us how to brainstorm 10 things we love, combining them with our strongest personal qualities or work skills, taking a look at what we’ve currently got and what we have to get yet. Perhaps her greatest advice is to keep adding to our personal set of skills and prepare ourselves not for jobs, but for skill areas. She places responsibility for personal employment satisfaction firmly with ourselves. She challenges us to find mentors who help give us direction and applause.

Denise Bissonnette is articulate, passionate, and believable. I like her message. I like how she delivers it. I like how she’s living her life.

If her message gets even one of us to look a little differently at how we work and how we can work, then her day is certainly worthwhile. Applause. Applause.

For me, listening to her is a reminder that I should keep doing what I’m doing. And on my way home tonight, I’m going to go through the drivethrough at Essa Rd and Highway 400 and bless someone else for their entrepreneurial spirit!

Thanks, Tim (Horton, that is) and Dave (Thomas, that is).