Declaring Independence

August 19, 2005

The September issue of Money magazine has an excellent article entitled, “Declare Independence: How to have the life you want without a paycheck.” I was struck by the similarity of their subtitle, with the subtitle of Goal-Free Living (How to have the life you want NOW!). Although, “without a paycheck” and “NOW” are not exactly the same thing, they are quite similar. When applying a goal-free approach to career, people often free themselves from the confines of “traditional” work, sometimes quitting their job and going solo.

The Money article cites a 2004 study by the University of Zurich in which workers in 23 countries were surveyed. They found that the self-employed were substantially more satisfied than people who work for someone else — even if the self-employed work more and earn less. When living a live according to your own purpose and dreams, money becomes less important.

Read the article at
http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/04/pf/independence_0509/

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Context vs Content

August 17, 2005

For three years I consulted to a major Formula One (motorsports) racing team. At the manufacturing plant in England they produce race cars. The job of the employees – the content – is similar to what the work done by any automotive manufacturer. They make cars. But on the race team, people work longer hours often for less pay than their counterparts. And they love their job. Why? It’s not what they are doing that matters. It’s why they are doing it that is the motivator. It is the context – being part of a winning racing team – that spurs them to perform their best. Goals are content. Aspirations are context. Aspirations help us see the big picture. Aspirations motivate and inspire us to bigger and better things. Goals can still be useful — in the content of a powerful aspiration.

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Quote of the Day

August 17, 2005

Publisher William Feather once said, “No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” More importantly, no one is a success who isn’t.

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Quote of the Day

August 12, 2005

“We long for a simpler way. I, for one, want to give up my need to make things happen and learn to allow life to unfold. I want to do my work … not as an expert but as a partner, supporting my clients and students in their individual dances with life. ” Charlotte Shelton, author of Quantum Leaps: 7 Skills for Workplace ReCreation

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Thought for the Day

August 12, 2005

A goal once achieved no longer motivates.

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Resolve to Not Resolve

August 11, 2005

Last month I commissioned an extensive (and statistically valid) survey to study people’s relationship to goals and New Year’s Resolutions. It was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. The results just arrived in my mailbox today. There are pages and pages of statistics — some of which I will post here in the future. One interesting number that leapt off the page is:

Only 8% of Americans achieve all of their New Year’s Resolutions. 92% fail!

There are many ways to interpret this one figure. The reason for the low success rate may be due to a lack of motivation. It may be due to the selection of the “wrong” resolution. It may be because their targets were unreasonably high (in business we would call these stretch goals) and that in spite of “failure”, there was in fact improvement.

These rates are not unreasonable or unexpected. In business, it is estimated that 75% of all projects fail to achieve their objectives. Does that mean you should not set goals and resolutions? It would be inappropriate to make such a statement from one statistic. However, I do believe that there are alternatives to resolutions that can provide a higher “success” rate, while creating greater motivation and passion.

I will discuss the concept of New Year’s “Themes” — along with more statistics — another time.

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