The Most Important Step to Working in a Vocation You Love

by Karl Rohde — Get free updates of new posts here. Photo Credit: unsplash

Building on my series of articles on the Social Age, in this article we look a little deeper into the first step to winning in the new world of work.

On September 2009, in a small venue in Puget Sound, the 3rd most popular TED talk of all time was given by Simon Sinek to an audience of around 100 people. The punch of the 18 minute discourse sums up succinctly how leaders inspire action. It's a simple message that resonates deeply with the human spirit and our innate desire to grow and do something that matters.

Here’s the nub of his talk: We all know what to do and how to do it but very few know why. Knowing the WHY is paramount because people don’t buy what and how you do things they buy why you do it. When what you do carries a sense of purpose and meaning, customers, bosses, clients and peers connect beyond the utility of what you do. This is how Social Age tribes are formed. This is how personal branding comes to light. This is how people become notable leaders.

Furthermore a new study from Deloitte confirms that companies who focus on purpose before profit are more successful than companies that don’t.

Unsettled by uncertain economic times, rattled by the emptiness of our hyper-consumer society, and transformed by mobile Internet connections, people are seeking to create meaning in their lives. (Emotive Brand)

So, if the new world of work is defined by meaning and purpose we do well to question our personal working style. So why do you work? And does it even matter?

Why Do You Work?

It’s a tough question if for most of your working life you have focused on WHAT and HOW. Is it for money, purpose, meaning, relationships, creative expression, passion or growth?

The social age makes answering this question ever more relevant because customers, being spoilt for choice, expect more. And this coincides nicely with the Social Age where the opportunity to do more, as individuals, has never been better. Yes, the Social Age makes art, your creative output, more achievable than ever before. We are living in a modern Renaissance.

The ability to do great work, not just good work has never been more accessible. Permission to do your special thing is no longer required. You can start a blog, a meet-up, a community, produce a product, give a talk or create a course. Art used to be something for a privileged elite but now anyone with a connected device can ship art. Being generic, an offshoot of the industrial age, used to be a viable path to a long term career. This is no longer the case as we see disruption across the economy, technology, industries and the rise of smart Internet savvy entrepreneurs.

As it turns out the new world of work is a choice. What would you rather be? Aware, caring, committed, creative, honest, improvising, incisive, independent informed, initiating, innovating, insightful, leading, strategic, authoritative, supportive......or obedient? (Seth Godin, author of Linchpin).

Why Can’t I Just Focus on WHAT and HOW?

The hierarchy of value tells us that there are more people at the bottom (script based repetitive work) where the pay is low, the work is hard but easy to learn. At the top (creative, innovative, social) there are fewer people, the pay is high, the work is easier but harder to learn.

You can: keep your head down, follow instructions, show up on time, work hard, suck it up, and do just what your job description says.

Or you can: be remarkable, be generous, create art, make judgement calls, show vulnerability, connect people and ideas and go beyond the confines of your position description.

Who would you rather hire, work with or buy from?

The call to action is this: expose the WHY in your work. Winning in the new world of work begins here.

Thanks for reading another article.

Question: What are your observations of this new world of work? Connect with me on [Google+][1], Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. If you liked this post please share on your social networks, email to a few friends or email me karl[at]