Dan Pink has written multiple New York Times best sellers, he’s been a speech writer for Al Gore, He’s given many Keynotes all over the world. His current book “When” has been sitting atop the best seller list for months. Looking at his career right now, you’d have no idea that at one point he was in law school but decided being a lawyer wasn’t for him, got into politics, and after the initial luster wore off found that the political space wasn’t for him either.
So how did Dan go from shifting career focus multiple times to deciding to become a writer with relative ease?
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF YOUR CAREER ISN’T OBVIOUS… UNTIL AFTERWARDS
If you’ve ever heard the famous Steve Jobs commencement speech for Stanford University, he says,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
It turns out that this was true for Dan too. He went to law school without ever spending time with a lawyer to find out what they did or ever learning what law school was like. He then went into politics all the while writing on the side because he enjoyed it, many times staying awake until midnight trying to get a piece finished for the unpaid writing gigs he had.
At the time it wasn’t obvious that he should be doing this side work as his main thing, it was only afterwards that he connected all the dots and realized that writing was where he should be spending his time.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I get so many emails about finding your passion. It’s a confusing and ambiguous.
Here are Dan’s thoughts on passion:
Passion is the wrong word. I think professionals care about challenge and contribution.
Passion is about you. Contribution is about other people.
What do you do that makes a contribution?
A much better question than “what is your passion” is what do you do?
What do you do already but you’re not getting paid for?
What did you do in your past roles that you gravitate towards event though it’s not really a part of your job?
What do you do that is only a small portion of your time right now that you wish you could make a much larger portion of your time?
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