When I talk to my kids about their future careers, I know that what they decide to do with their lives will be shaped by their life experiences. Though they may have passion in a number of areas today, they will discover more of themselves as their lives unfold.
I draw for them three large circles analogous to the model used in the business classic, “From Good to Great”. In that book, Jim Collins asserted that great companies chose as their business the intersection of three great circles representing (1) what they did better than any other company, (2) what they were passionate about, and (3) the needs of the world.
I see potential in each of us, and when I look at my kids and talk to patients, both adolescents and adults at a crossroads in their lives, I draw them those three large circles.
The first circle represents your passions. What do you love to do? What would you be willing to do for free? What could you do for hours at a time and instead of feeling exhausted, you feel energized?
The second circle represents your talents. What do you do better than anyone else? What comes easiest to you? In what area of your life can you become great if you had the right training and put in enough practice?
The third circle represents the needs of the world. How can you use your talent and passion to meet the needs of others?
The intersection of these three circles – your passions, your talents and the needs of the world – is your calling – what you need to do. Your calling is not icing on the cake when the rest of your life is looked after. It is the purpose of your life. It is your gift to the world.
Your happiness exercise for the day: Try this exercise today. Take a blank piece of paper and draw three intersecting circles. In the first, write what you are passionate about. In the second, what you do better than anyone else (your friends and family may help you here). In the third, look for the needs of your world.