The Sweet Spot

In 2007, I managed to write approximately one Right Brain column. This was far from my goal of one per month. I’ve been so busy working to manage and grow this business – and my kids – that something had to give. And, month after month, the Right Brain column “gave.”

That’s how it is for most of us. We get so busy working to live, we forget that LIVING is our first priority. Working is supposed to enable us to enjoy life, not take the life out of us. In fact, when we enjoy what we’re doing, we thrive. But when work requires us to spend the bulk of our days on the tasks we enjoy the least, our work – and our lives – suffer.

I have a brilliant friend in the newspaper business who spends the majority of his time and energy on his work. He loves it when his days are filled working with reporters and directing storylines. However, when he spends his time in management, accounting and advertising revenue meetings, he finds himself less than fulfilled.

I met a man last week with a passion for bending, shaping and using metal. Over the past twenty years, he turned that passion into a highly successful furniture company. He lamented, however, that over the past few years, he’d had no time to devote to his passion. He was spending his time running a business instead of coming up with new ways to bend metal.

Three weeks ago, my daughter was assigned a science project. She was not enthused. She’d much rather spend her time playing with her dogs than experimenting with anything remotely scientific. Eventually, she came up with an experiment that involved her dogs. This made the strained weekend before it was due much more enjoyable than had she built a volcano from paper mache or created a solar system. At twelve, she’s figured out how to turn dreaded projects into something she enjoys. We could all learn from that.

I started this business because I loved branding. My talent lies in figuring out how a product or service should be positioned in the marketplace, then coming up with the creative executions that will make that happen. I’m at my best when I spend my day writing, directing the creative work and thinking strategically for our clients. Comparing phone systems, negotiating cleaning services or evaluating employee benefit options does not inspire me.

It does, however, inspire someone. And that’s the person who should be doing that job.

When we are spending the majority of our time making a living doing what we love, we’re living in our sweet spot – the spot where our core strengths, abilities and passions come together. Just like the area on a baseball bat that allows us to make optimal connection to the ball. It just feels right.

This is where we thrive.

My goal for 2008 is to spend more time working to live and less time living to work. Writing this monthly Right Brain column demonstrates that I’m living in my sweet spot. Here’s hoping I manage to write 11 more in 2008!