Occasionally we will welcome guest authors who have relevant and inspiring ideas to share. This week we are proud to bring you a post written by Patrick Spear, husband of our Sales and Marketing coordinator Lisa Spear. Patrick has over two decades of sales and marketing experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, including seven years with the BIC Corporation, seven years with Rubbermaid Home Products, and five years with Mapa Spontex.

As I sat down with a blog assignment this week, I thought about how best to address the death of Steve Jobs; after all, so much has been said/written/offered about one of the great thinkers and creators of my generation, and there isn't a lot I'm going to contribute to the discussion (I'd rather not delve into cliché, and I certainly never met the man).  On the other hand, I love his products, use them daily, and believe the world is a better place for him having walked among us.  So, how to proceed?

When my wife, Lisa, forwarded me the YouTube link to his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (10.8MM views, and counting;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc), I couldn't help but stop and listen intently to his words.  If you haven't seen the speech, it's worth viewing; his thoughts on a number of topics are both simple and salient.  After thinking about his words and advice, one point in particular struck me: "Do what you believe is great work."  In Mr. Jobs' mind, the only way to do great work is to do what you love; if you're not doing what you love, you need to keep looking, and don't settle.  Ah, if only it were that simple...

We all spend a great deal of time working and in theory, we all love what we do, or we wouldn't be doing it.  But in this economy, with so many still struggling to get by or looking for work, doing great work by doing what we love is secondary to keeping a job, regardless of our passion for our profession.  The trap, though, is in taking a short-term view, and assuming that things will always be like this.  They won't.  Things will get better, and things will get worse, and we'll each have to plow through, regardless.  That's life.  The opportunity is in taking the long view, and taking steps - some of them inconsequential, and some of them huge - to advance toward our goal of finding what we love, and pouring our heart and soul into it when we do.

Are you doing great work and doing what you love?  Or are you interested in finding what it is that can best be described as your life’s purpose?  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Make a list of the things that inspire you, and build upon it.  Find ways to make these things actionable
  2. Look for educational opportunities; you'll be amazed at the breadth of classes offered in your area that can serve as an inspirational catalyst
  3. Search the web; you're certainly not alone in your quest.  Sites such as www.lifeoptimizer.org offer some intriguing insights
  4. Open yourself to new ideas; what's the harm in putting down the blinders?  You may surprise yourself, and others, with your discoveries
  5. Get active; exercise, eat health, and develop new habits aimed at improving your overall well-being.  When you do, you’ll clarify your thinking, and start on a new course

Above all, remember that life, indeed, is short.  Today is a gift, and we betray ourselves if we don't take a moment to realize how lucky we are to have it, regardless of our near-term circumstances. 

We would love to hear if you are doing what you love and if not what steps you can take to change your course and do great work.


Patrick Spear