In my performance review today, my manager told me that the work I’m doing now is what I was born to do.
Over the last year or so, whenever people ask me how work is going, I answer them honestly: It’s fantastic. The response is usually a surprised look, like work isn’t supposed to be fulfilling. It’s not that my job is without its challenges or its frustrations. It is pushing me in the ways that I want to be pushed, and it’s making me grow in the ways I want to grow.
I understand that this is unusual. I have a lot of friends right now who aren’t in this situation, either because they’re unemployed or because they’re not doing what they want to. And I know that many things had to go right in order to create the situation I’m in.1 Still, I think that lot of where I’m at is because of choices I’ve made. Those choices were not just about what to do, they were also about how to feel. I was going to go into a long story about the last five years, but it really just boils down to this:
Focus on the positive. Grow what works. Encourage any signs of changes toward what you want. You can’t hope for other people to do what you want them to. It has to start with you.
My manager said today that the sorts of things we’ve been doing together over the last two years are things he’s wanted to do for a decade. I just showed up and started doing those things, and no one had the sense to tell me to stop.
Seth Godin wrote recently about the importance and independence of attitude.2 I absolutely believe in that. What happens to us matters. What matters more is how we choose to react to it. We always have that choice.
1 My manager talked about planets aligning and the stars being right. I don’t want to go quite that far.
3 And if you’re a writer who hasn’t read Bird by Bird, fix that.