When working IN impacts working ON

Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

I read a blog by Seth Godin recently where he talks about how the procedures, responsibilities and meetings at work get in the way of actually adding value. The value you create, the things you do that no one else can, the real reason you are here. You’re hiding in your job.

Well, it got me thinking. I have my own business and in essence work with people who also have their own or run large corporate organisations. Working with these great people does fill a large part of my life. I do believe that it’s great work and I absolutely love it! However I do notice that these great responsibilities, meetings, facilitation days and coaching do take up lot’s of time. Hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s great time and there is definitely value added, but what I realise is that all that time spent IN my business and spent IN their business leaves no time to work ON my business.

You’re probably wondering what I’m on about! Well this blog is a classic example. I haven’t posted for 3 months. Nothing, nada, zip for a quarter of a year. Now an old colleague of mine, David Goggin, would be having serious words with me right now. I can hear his dulcet Irish tones telling me how shabby an untended blog looks like.

I’ve been so busy working IN the business, I’ve neglected to work ON the business. I’m hiding in my job. If I’m not careful I’ll allow my activity to stifle my creativity and the great irony will be, that sooner rather than later, I’ll find myself with lot’s of quiet time because I’ve neglected the time to grow my business, expand my view of the world and ceased to create new and exciting programmes.

I wonder how many of you out there are moving in the same direction? It’s so easy to do. You love you work, you get so engrossed by doing what you do, but maybe take your eye off the bigger picture?

So what should you do?

I think you have to deliberately set time aside to work ON your business, to work ON your team, to work ON yourself. Whether that be a day a week or an hour a day, whatever you can commit to realistically, but commit something! Be strategic and plan ahead, read and learn something new, call people and speak to them, seek advice and guidance, create and innovate, renew old acquaintances and foster new ones, do things for others and expect nothing in return. Work ON stuff!

Then I believe that you’ll see the benefits IN your business, IN your teams and IN yourself. Like Seth says, “Anything else is hiding.”

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