The core strategy for wealth and freedom is a career path and value proposition that offers something different to the market that is profitable and sustainable. Following the crowd into common career paths offer no opportunity to stand out or demand high compensation. Each of us is radically unique shaped by our DNA, how our brains are wired, and our specific experiences. Use this powerful combination to target a path where there is a high demand for a unique solution that only you can provide. Aligning your work with your calling will power your greatness and inner peace.
Throughout the Know principle, you gained a deeper understanding of yourself. That insight will be used in this lecture to shape a path based on your individuality. Using the Target Concept, you also identified (or confirmed) areas where you have skills to create value by doing things you love spending time on.
Early in your career, experimenting in various fields and interests can be valuable for opening up your eyes and finding your calling. I advocate doing this, but at some point, a time will come when you will need to decide exactly what to do with your life. If you are someone trying too many things out, you will never develop skills to be valuable in a particular area. You find yourself jumping from one job to another.
Some people opt for a career primarily based on securing stability or status as a motivator. This may or may not be in a field or path they actually enjoy long-term. Since the path was chosen for practical or egotistical purposes, at some point it will feel like just a job given that it has little to do with what actually interests us.
Both of these paths can result in pain – boredom, insecurity, and depression. We are unaware that it’s the lack of purpose and true direction in our lives that are driving our discomfort. In the book, The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, the solution is looking for and discovering the individual purpose of our lives.
“Each human individual is radically unique. This uniqueness is inscribed in us in three ways – the one-of-a-kind configuration of our DNA, the particular way our brains are wired and our experiences are we go through life, experiences that are unlike any other’s. Consider this uniqueness as a seed that is planted at birth, with potential growth. And this uniqueness has purpose.” – Source: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
Connecting with and cultivating our sense of uniqueness provides us with a path to follow throughout the phases of our life. Greene describes “primal inclinations” as subjects or activities we were naturally drawn to in early childhood. We often hear these as an inner voice. But as time passes, we lose touch with these for a variety of reasons. We lose a sense of what makes us unique and interesting.
Greene describes “life’s work” as what we were intended to do, as dictated by our particular skills, gifts, and inclinations. It is our calling in life.
Identify a sense of direction and career path that aligns with and leverages your unique inclinations. With a strong sense of purpose based on our uniqueness, we can follow this path with confidence, focus, and endurance.
In Strategy 7 – Decide Consciously, we will talk more about how a deep sense of purpose guides all of your decisions and actions to keep you on your stated path with endurance.
Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins presents the Hedgehog Concept. A construct of simplifying a complex world into a single idea. A north star that unifies and guides everything. He describes the intersection of three circles that will deliver a simple, crystalline concept that guides all choices. The three circles of the Hedgehog Concept adapted from a business-to-personal analogy is:
- Doing what you are deeply passionate about
- Doing work that you are genetically encoded for
- Doing work you are well paid for
Jim Collins notes that what you are encoded for is different than what you are just “good” at. What you are encoded for is influenced by your genetic makeup and life experiences that set you apart from people who are good, but not the best at what they do. We all have dreams to pursue a magical career path, but it must also be practical. You will need to excel in your field of choice if you do not possess the strengths and natural skills to master your craft.
1 – Discover Your Primal Inclinations.
Identify the tasks when you feel that you are absorbed in your work.
Measure your excitement from 1-10 when you are learning something.
Sense when you feel the Mojo – that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.
Think about what comes easy to you and is highly valued by others.
Think back to your earlier years and what you really loved spending time on.
2 – Trust Your Inner Voice.
Embrace the thoughts in your mind as a form of guidance.
Go on walks or quiet time at home to hear the voice with clarity.
Think about the times you described your purpose to others.
Write your inner voice thoughts in your journal.
Sense discomfort when you are going down a path or situation that does not align with your character.
Listen to your voice that is guiding you toward your destiny.
3 – Deepen the Connection to Purpose.
Befriend people with a high sense of purpose and ambition.
Distance yourself from people who solely seek money, pleasure, and attention as their primary motivation.
4 – Choose a Profitable and Sustainable Path.
Avoid following the crowds – an oversupply reduces the price you can command.
Think about how trends, technology, and events create shifts in high-demand skills (and eliminate jobs).
Choose a path for a service or talent that will stand the test of time.
Be realistic of your financial needs – be cautious going down a path with limited rewards and opportunities that will not provide a solid foundation to maneuver from.
5 – Experiment with Multiple Paths.
It’s unlikely that a single path or job will meet all of your needs.
Diversify your career and financial portfolio by architecting multiple paths.
Use talents across these paths to bring something unique to each – you will be amazed by the opportunities once you see this perspective.
Plan and invest in future paths to mentally prepare for when that day arrives.
Experiment with a side hustle to explore a new path in a low-risk way.
Experiment With This
- Use a dedicated page(s) in a journal to write down the voice you are hearing about your destiny. This will give you clues to the path that brings out your true individuality. Don’t ignore the voice as it will be there until you do something about changing your path.
- Meditate on this quote from the book Mastery by Robert Greene, “No good can ever come from deviating from the path you were destined to follow”. In my current work, am I doing it for false purposes (pleasure, money, attention, power for ego) or my true calling?
- Take a walk without distractions to explore this question of your life’s calling.
- Create a service or product to solve a problem you struggled with and have a unique calling to help others overcome it. You can ease into this using your existing skills to explore a side hustle business to grow or deepen skills in a low-risk way.
- Pursuing a path of individuality and change is often hard. Is my voice telling me something different than my current path? If so, what is stopping you from pursuing this path? Have I given up on something too earlier on what I thought was my calling?
- Visualization of the future can be a powerful motivator to reach the next level. Imagine that you have the next 3-6 months to do whatever you want and your current financial obligations are covered. What would you do and why?
Robert Greene video (21 minutes in) where he discusses concepts from his book Mastery for choosing your unique calling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64MsV-FECsY
Mastery by Robert Greene (Part I: Discover Your Calling: The Life’s Task)
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene (Law 13 – Advance With a Sense of Purpose)
Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith (Chapter 2 – Measuring Your Mojo)
Have you found your hedgehog — your personal hedgehog? by Jim Collins (YouTube)