Factor #2: Make Your Greatest Contribution
How do you know if you're making your Greatest Contribution? This is not (necessarily) about working for a not-for-profit; this is about doing good work that contributes to your organization and - by extension - to your community. When you're using your Highest Talents™, you're in all likelihood making your greatest contribution. If you're a trial attorney, that might include thinking strategically to lay out your case or relating to people both intellectually and emotionally to connect with judges and juries. If you're a journalist, that might include researching to locate sources, interviewing to garner critical information and writing powerfully to convey compelling stories (I just finished reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, see below). What feedback do you get about your work? If you're a trial attorney, do you win cases? Do you persuade judges and juries? If you're a journalist, do people read your stories? Is there evidence that you change minds? Do your clients request more services? Refer more clients? Do you receive promotions and raises? Do your colleagues - at all levels - seek your advice? All of these are signs that you're making your greatest contribution.
Who benefits from your Greatest Contribution and how do they benefit? If you're a star, using your highest talents and making your greatest contribution, the people who immediately benefit are your family and friends, clients, colleagues and firm or organization. The more you focus on your talents to make your greatest contribution, the more your influence and the number of people you influence expands. Often this happens as your career grows. Your cases become larger and more significant, perhaps newsworthy. Your reputation grows. Maybe you change laws, legal interpretations. Maybe your stories change minds, actions, votes. You become a role model within your organization and profession or within your community. Who benefits from your work, directly or indirectly?
How do you benefit from making your Greatest Contribution? Do you derive satisfaction from your work? If you're busy - maybe stressed - right now, slow down, get quiet and ask yourself, "How do I feel about my work when I've won a case, when a client genuinely thanks me, when I know I've done good work?" Maybe you're being well-compensated (or maybe not as well as you think you should be), maybe you're being recognized for your contribution (or maybe not as much as you think you should be), but when you get quiet and contemplate, do you know you're doing good work, making a difference? When you're using your highest talents and making your greatest contributions, no one benefits more than you do. You feel it!
See Factor #1 here.
And watch for Factor #3 coming in July.
~ Jo Smith, misquoting Alfred, Lord Tennyson