You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Luckily, I happen to have found this to be absolutely true in my life as well. When something from the universe taps you on the shoulder and makes you think about where you’re at in your journey, and where you’re going (or not), it usually pays to listen. Steve didn’t just listen to his inner voice, he used to ask it for a simple answer on a daily basis:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
What I’ve come to believe over time in my career is that if you can be grateful for the people, environments and experiences that have come before, and embrace your next milestone with genuine joy and without regret, then you’ll never be heading in the wrong direction.
Which brings me to the reason for this post. My next milestone has arrived. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking up the post of Managing Editor of e-Government for Citizens at the Department of the Premier in the Western Cape Government. Yes. The G-word. I wasn’t expecting this either but connecting the dots backwards, I couldn’t be more prepared to be in this exact position, right here, right now. The talented team I’ll be working with are achieving some incredible things and I’m looking forward to helping manage and grow their web, mobile and social platforms, giving citizens access to a range of world-class information and services, delivered in ways that make it easier and more exciting to live in this amazing province of ours.
So why this particular move, and why now? Three reasons, really.
- An opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day. This is no ordinary job, no ordinary employer, no ordinary challenge.
- I believe that this role offers all the necessary ingredients needed to experience the next sweet spot in my career; the chance to find the perfect intersection of skills, passion, appreciation and reward.
Steve was absolutely right when he described his version of finding your career’s sweet spot:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
Oprah was just as perceptive about finding your best fit in life:
“Your real work is to figure out where your power base is and to work on that alignment of your personality, your gifts you have to give, with the real reason why you are here. Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you. There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”
The people’s poet, Maya Angelou, boiled it down to this simple definition of success:
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
If I’m in a position to choose (which we all are, every day), I want to be doing something that matters; to me, to my employers or investors, to our customers or users, and to the world at large.
- Life’s too short not to dream big and change the world. Just ask Lemony Snicket, who said:
Or Christopher Columbus, who was prepared to put his neck on the line to live a life of conviction:
You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight
of the shore.
So, I’m pushing the boat out. Are you listening, universe? Let’s do it.
“But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. He lived happily ever after.” – Willy Wonka