A while back, I saw a tweet by Michael Hyatt that reminded me of three questions I like to ask employees and colleagues that come to me to discuss their careers. During these conversations, I frequently hear some combination of the following:
- What is my place in the company?
- What does my future here look like?
- What can I do to be more valuable to the company? (translation: get a promotion; make more money)
What I like to do at some point during these conversations is to pull out a blank sheet of paper and draw three overlapping circles. [This is not original thought on my part; rather, it’s a career development adaptation of the Hedgehog Concept in Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great.]
In the three circles, I write:
- What do you really enjoy doing (what’s your passion)?
- What are you really good at?
- What will bring financial rewards to the company and ultimately, to you?
Sometimes it’s hard to crack the nut on items 1. and 2. – after all, shouldn’t they be the same? Ideally yes, but you might be surprised at how often they aren’t.
Where’s your “sweet spot?”
The sweet spot for each of us is the point where the three circles intersect. In other words, we are at our best when we are doing what we enjoy, what we excel at and what the market rewards us for. This simple concept never fails to make the lights go on. I encourage employees to self-reflect and guide their job responsibilities and careers toward the sweet spot they identify.
As we embark on transitions in our lives and careers (even within the same company), the “three circles” are a great tool for reflection on where we can be at our best in our personal and businesses lives.
When was the last time that you examined your “three circles?”