Leader driven Harmony #8: Get a FIRE Going in Your Belly!

by Mack McKinney on January 21, 2011

Let’s pretend you have a major, life-threatening disease and are seeking treatment.  Do you want to be treated by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse who just kinda likes their job?  Who just muddles through the day?  Who is about as good at the job as most other physicians?  OF COURSE NOT!

You want to be seen by someone who lives, eats and breathes medicine!  Someone who is a voracious reader of all things about the diseases he/she diagnoses and treats.  Someone who is sought out by other physicians for their in-depth understanding of people with your disease.  You want an expert who gets patients from other doctors who are unable to help them.  So how will you know when you have found such a specialist?  Well you should look for these unmistakable signs:

  • They have a visible and tangible passion for the subject (in this case, the disease).
  • They subscribe to every journal, newsletter, bulletin or other publication on the subject.
  • Their name is mentioned by several reputable sources, not just one.
  • They seem to have read every major book on the subject and may even have written (or be writing) one of their own.
  • They frequently talk (in person, on the phone, on email, etc.) with other specialists and recognized experts on the subject and can hold their own in discussions with anyone on the subject.

What does this have to do with you or with your business or your job?  Well, aren’t YOU providing some service or product to someone?  Don’t YOU help people solve problems?  Then this same level of engagement, commitment and proficiency is what other people expect of YOU!  Whether you are a plumber, IT specialist, car mechanic, piano tuner, grocery clerk, investment banker or military officer, people expect you to be the very best at your job!

How do you get to be the best?  How do you rise past the others in your field and become the “go-to” person?  You discriminate yourself, that’s how.  You set yourself apart from the herd by doing what they don’t (or won’t) do:

  1. Being Passionate: You decide that you are going to become passionate about your job and that, for at least awhile, you are going to let it dominate your life (this is why you want to choose careers that excite you – – –  it is hard to get passionate about a thing you are not fascinated by).
  2. Get Excited. Even if you have not been really excited about your job until now, decide to GET that way.  As Hollywood says, fake it until you make it.  (In a future post we’ll explain why this actually works, but take my word for it, it DOES!)
  3. Get fired up.  Get what the venture capitalists say they see in the people who come to them for investment money and walk away with a check for their new business enterprises – – – they have a “fire in the belly”.  The investors want to see someone so bursting with sincere enthusiasm for their idea that the subliminal message they transmit is “I believe in this idea and I am going to make this a success with or without your money!”  People can sense this passion and it is infectious.
  4. Infect others:  For a new venture, find kindred spirits who can get excited with you, and get them to help spread the word!
  5. Do your homework, everyday. In every field there are new advances, new technologies, new things to learn.  Get plugged in to those sources. Learn everything you can.
  6. Join professional organizations that let you commiserate with your fellow wizards.  From landscaping to electrical contracting, there are technical seminars and conferences that let you learn about the latest and greatest products and techniques.  Join and attend.

Some of the above advice applies to you if you are planning to stay in your existing career and just need to kick it up a notch.  But if you are pondering a major career change, you need to add a few actions to your to-do list:

  • Try on a career like you would a pair of shoes:  You slip shoes on and walk around in them awhile to see how they feel when you are walking, turning, kneeling, etc.  Do the same mentally with the new career you are considering.
  • Mentally place yourself in the job. Envision what you’ll be doing, your daily tasks and the people with whom you will interact.  See how it “feels”.
  • Read everything possible about the new career:  Pay scales, legislation that impacts it, what existing practitioners think of it and their forecasts for the future.
  • Talk to people actually doing that job right now. Ask if they would do it again and what they would do differently.

Most importantly, make up your mind to be a lifelong learner!  You cannot be the best at anything unless you commit to constantly learning, for the rest of your life, everything you can about that field of endeavor.  Every job can be stimulating if you examine each aspect to see how you can do the work better, faster, with fewer mistakes, and with better customer service.  And every job can be challenging if you decide that you are going to do that job better than anyone else on the planet earth!

Copyright: Solid Thinking Corporation

Mack McKinneyMack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government
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  • http://www.conorneill.com Conor

    Great article. I have been thinking recently about how to find a job that is a passion – most things are not a passion when I start… for example the first day I went skiing, I was cold, wet, sore and frustrated… but the 10th day I was truly loving every moment and feeling “at one” with the skis and the mountain. How long do you give something before you decide it is or is not a passion? How much is passion an internal decision rather than patiently waiting for the world to give me “a feeling”? Thanks for some good morning inspiration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mack-McKinney/100002018582085 Mack McKinney

    Good question Connor. You’ll know something is a passion because the more you learn about it, the more you find there IS to learn. You just cannot get enough of it. You want to learn more and get deeper into it. It dominates much of your waking day. And you ravenously devour everything you see written or spoken about it. Now, granted, you may not reach this level of . . .well . . obsession right at first. But if it happens, even over time, you have found a passion my friend!

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