Do you ever find yourself wondering “What am I doing?” I do. A lot. Now I think I am pretty successful at my job, and I have always been pretty good at or knowledgeable about a lot of different things rather than really great at one or two things. But sometimes I just want to know what I am doing has significance and meaning and makes a difference. I feel like I am constantly seeking that one great thing I am meant to do in my life.
Work Smart, Not Hard
Now, it’s not to say I don’t think I contribute at work, because I do see the fruits of my labor. And my family acknowledges my contributions at home. But sometimes I work hard and not smart. And I am trying to shift my thinking and behaviors so that I can work smart more of the time and then maybe, just maybe, I will have an epiphany find that one great thing that seems to be escaping me.
These past few years have been about pushing myself and trying new things, both professionally and personally. I took on a new role at work, completed a leadership program, participated in a major community service effort, started this blog, and have done several public presentations at conferences for work. I haven’t been perfect at all of them, but I have done them and given them a really solid effort. On the public speaking thing, it’s funny that in high school I did competitive speech and debate, but in my later years I find memorizing or even polishing a 45 minute presentation is quite difficult. I am not the greatest but I keep trying because I want to get better and be effortless (and secretly wish I was funny and witty), like every Ted Talk speaker I have seen.
So what have I done lately to develop and push myself? These past few weeks: 1) I have given a speech at an international conference that went OK – could have been more polished. But afterwards I was asked to give the presentation on a webinar for a company, so I will count that as a win. 2) I wrote a professional blog on LinkedIn. 3) I finished “The 52 Lists Project” which was a year-long journal of inspiration. (It was supposed to be weekly, but I found myself writing 4 or 5 at a time and then forgetting about it….much like this thing I call a blog!) 4) I took a beginner and advanced photography class, albeit with my 8-year-old DSLR camera, which is considered outdated compared to today’s technology and I kept cursing along the way. This is something I really want to get good at, so I will keep trying and learning. 5) I have listened to several podcasts in the car about productivity, leadership, being happy, and healthy habits. (Note to self: Future blog idea…all my favorite podcasts.) 6) I organized a food/hygiene product drive at work for our local Good Samaritans.
OK, so I guess I will give myself a Gold Star for my recent accomplishments and quit being so hard on myself. Perhaps some people, like me, are just meant to do a lot of little things throughout their life that add up along the way, rather than one big significant thing. I am reminded of a quote I used in my recent presentation:
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
~ Vince Lombardi
If I can give myself a break, enjoy my little accomplishments, and keep doing what I feel in my heart is right, then perhaps I will quit asking myself “What Am I Doing?” and start asking “What Are You Going to Do NEXT?”.
Do you have something you are working on or you recently accomplished? Don’t forget to celebrate your success!