3 Essential Ingredients for a Fulfilling and Lucrative Career
A few months ago somebody at one of my talks asked about why I enjoy public speaking. Some people fear public speaking more than death. As Jerry Seinfeld once joked “that means the person giving the eulogy would rather be in the coffin.” As far as why I like speaking, it contains 3 essential elements to a career that is both fulfilling and lucrative.
1. You Enjoy the Work
You weren’t put on this earth to work eight hours a day at a job you hate until the time comes to die — Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life
There are a lot of people who hate their jobs. If you don’t enjoy your work, it’s unlikely you’ll thrive at it.
I hated my first job out of college with a passion. I didn’t have the GPA to be an investment banker. Sales was the only role where I could potentially make just as much money, so I picked a job where I sat at a desk making cold calls all day. Despite the potential upside, I didn’t enjoy the work, so I never saw the financial rewards of it. Out fear, I never bothered to look for another job until I got fired.
No experience in your life should be thought of as wasted. And my time in sales was not wasted because what I do as a speaker in many ways is a sales job. The main difference is that I enjoy speaking.
The idea that you should know what you want to do with your life by the time you leave college is a bit far fetched. If you’re lucky enough to have figured that out, be grateful. But if you’re not, don’t fret. Early in life is a great time to collect data points, and as Tina Seelig says, see uncertainty as a gift. Data points will serve as the dots you connect later in your career.
2.You’re Good at It
You could enjoy something, but not be good at it. And if that’s the case, it’s unlikely that it will turn into something lucrative. That’s not to say you can’t get good at it. You just have to keep in mind that passion follows engagement and meaning follows mastery.
On the other hand, if you enjoy it and are good at it, it has potential to be lucrative. My business partner Brian is a masterful salesperson who has generated significant amounts of revenue as a commission only salesperson for the organizations he’s been employed by.
3. It Pays Well or Has Potential To
You could enjoy something and be really good at it, but it’s limited in its earning potential. Of course, if you choose opportunities that don’t just increase your earning but increase your earning potential, what doesn’t pay well today could pay well a year from now or 10 years from now.
That being said there are positions where your earning potential is capped by the design of the position. It’s unlikely you’ll become a billionaire by working as a government bureaucrat or as a professional underwater basket weaver.
If you were to draw a Venn diagram with these three criteria, the intersection would be a career that is rewarding and lucrative.
Before You Go…
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, check out my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
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