A 5-Minute Hack to Finding Your Life’s Work

Written by Scott September 3, 2014

the step that changes everything

“I would do something different if I only knew what to do.”

This seems to be one of the most common challenges keeping people from pursing work that matters. I hear it waaay too often.

And it’s especially common for the new members of the Live Your Legend community just starting the journey (although all of us face it off and on, forever)…

“I don’t know what I’m passionate about. I don’t know my strengths, talents or the difference I want to make in the world. If I did, I’d be doing something about it.”

I’ve been there… a lot. You know things need to change, but without a compelling and exciting vision to work towards, finding the motivation to take the next step can seem impossible.

That’s why the passion discovery process is such an important part of the first steps and why we developed our Live Off Your Passion Guided-Discovery Course. Because once you start to latch onto what’s possible and an idea you can’t not pursue, the snowball starts to roll.

But “not knowing” is not a free pass to sit and spin your wheels wasting your life doing something that’s not you. That’s how someday turns to never.

So today I want to offer a 5-minute 80/20 exercise that could make all the difference…

Get the answers from people close to you.

While in theory no one knows you better than you, oftentimes we get so deep in our own head, thoughts and fears that we subconsciously blind ourselves from seeing the obvious.

So instead of putting all the pressure on yourself, ask the people who know you best. Because sometimes the honest perspective of an outsider is all we need to finally see the light that’s been shining the whole time.

The process is simple: You’re going to write emails to five people close to you, asking them four questions. 

Choose people who know you well, who will be honest with you and are from different walks of life. I’d suggest a colleague, past boss, spouse, parent, 1-2 close friends and a mentor. Bonus points for sending it to 2-3 of each of the categories (the more data the better), but don’t just ask your whole family. We want people who know you in different settings.

*Note: If you already know your current or future passion project, then change these questions to what’s relevant in your journey right now. Ask about positioning ideas, pricing, products or service you could offer or whatever. Just get in the habit of getting outside your own head.

And A Little Bonus: You reaching out to these people also lets them know you’re looking for interesting projects and people to engage with, which makes those connections a lot more likely to happen. #Winning!

Here are your four questions, which you’re welcome to modify:

1. What do you think are my biggest passions and why? If you can think of at least two or three, that would be great. Please explain.

2. What do you think are my biggest natural strengths and talents? Please explain.

3. Given the above and what you know about me, what have you always thought I’d be great at doing as a career? Or maybe as a volunteer or hobby? Please explain.

4. And here’s the big one… Assuming you didn’t know me personally, what talent, skill or passion would you happily pay me to teach or help you with? Why?

To make it ridiculously easy on you (and ensure you actually do this!), here’s an email template you can use. Be sure to personalize for each recipient…

Your no-brainer ‘Find Your Life’s Work’ email template:

*****

Subject: Need your thoughts on a new career I’m considering – by end of week if possible

Hi James –

As you know, I really want to start doing work I actually care about, so I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out what’s next. Since you know me well, I’d love your quick help on this. 

I’ve specifically been spending time understanding my passions and the things I like and am good at. 

So, can you take a few minutes to answer the four questions below in as much detail as you feel comfortable with? You likely see me in a different way than I see myself and this would be a huge help. Please be as open and honest as possible.

Anything goes.

Here are the questions:

1. What do you think are my biggest passions and why? If you can think of at least two or three, that would be great. Please explain. 

2. What do you think are my biggest natural strengths and talents? Please explain.

3. Given the above and what you know about me, what have you always thought I’d be great at doing as a career? Or maybe as a volunteer or hobby? Please explain.

4. And here’s the big one… Assuming you didn’t know me personally, what talent, skill or passion would you happily pay me to teach or help you with? Why?

You can just reply to this email and type right below each question.

If you can get back to me by end of this week, that would be awesome. I’m spending all day this Sunday [insert xx/xx date] working on this and meeting with a coach, so having your answers by then would be huge. [Note: Be sure your date is no more than a week out. Giving a specific (and honest) reason to have it done by a certain date will help get quick responses.]

Your thoughts on this will go a long way. Can’t wait to see what you think up, and to let you know what direction I take after I get a little more clarity. I’ve put this off way too long. 

Huge thanks!

– Scott

*****

The Worst Step is No Step

“I don’t know what I want to do,” is not an excuse for inaction.

Most adventures begin without having a clue where they’ll lead. But we excitedly embark anyway.

The pursuit of what matters is no different. If you have a change you want to make, you must be ruthlessly dedicated to progress, no matter how small. There is no certain or exact next step. There never is. So any will do. As long as you’re learning, you’re moving forward.

Build the habit of discovery.

No matter what your stage, that’s the name of the game.

Get out of your own head and ask the people who know you best. They’ll provide insights you never could.

Now, start sending!

Your task today: Take five minutes right now and send at least two of these emails. Send the rest before the end of today. Better yet, send them all now. Bonus points for following up their responses with some live discussion, which is usually best over a workout or glass of wine (or three). 🙂

Then come back and tell us what you learn.

-Scott

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Image credit: Taken while hiking a little beach trail in Paros, Greece. See more of our adventure on Instagram

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn