Most of us find ourselves hustling at work for that next promotion or raise. But there are plenty of people with an impressive job title and large bank account balance who are still living small. Living Large is about living life fully engaged, using your skills, experience, talents and resources in ways that make you want to jump up and shout.
With over twenty years of working with high achievers and aspiring achievers, I’ve discovered five insights that are essential to Living Large:
#1. Know Your Why
You may call this your purpose. It’s an idea that has threaded its way through the roles you have played either paid or not. Not sure what your “why” is? Make a list of the jobs or roles you’ve played that you found satisfying. Beside each one, write one sentence about what made it meaningful for you. I’ll bet you’ll see a theme or pattern: Helping people improve their lives; Using art to bring people together; Teaching people to see a bigger picture…
#2. Know What You Know
We know about many things, especially about the content of the work we do – things that are industry specific. These are our know-whats. It’s easy to feel we are trapped because we’ve only worked in one industry. But our know-whats are only part of the story. We also all have know-hows. Those are processes that you can use in many different situations: create a budget, manage a project, lead a team, give a compelling presentation. The more you understand your Know-Hows, the greater your options.
#3. Know What Turns You On
We all have activities we enjoy. Even when we are working hard at them, they are energizing. I love designing and leading planning meetings but please don’t ask me to figure out that glitch in my email – that depletes me! I feel like lying on the floor and taking a nap! We all have different activities that give us energy. Here’s an easy way to figure out yours: Make a list of things that you do each day (both at work and outside of work) and put a checkmark besides each activity that gives you energy. Notice the patterns that emerge from the energy-giving activities
#4. Know Your Talents
Too many of us say: There’s nothing really special about me. But there is! It’s easy to recognize what’s special about you. First look at your Know Hows from #2. Then compare then to your list of energizing activities in #3. Chances are your talent is on both lists. Remember it probably comes easy for you – that’s why it’s a talent. Too often we believe that if something’s not hard (no pain, no gain), then it’s not valuable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Your talent is something that is energizing for you and easy!
#5. Know Your Cause
The happiest people I know are those who care about something other than themselves. It may be making your neighborhood more neighborly, volunteering at an after-school program, or working in a local food bank. Or you may feel called to contribute to global issues – safe water, a cleaner environment, world peace. Whatever it is, seek ways to align your Why and your Talent with something that makes a difference in the world.
When we are using our talents and energy doing what we love and making a difference, we are Living Large.
You deserve it – and the world needs it!
Elizabeth Crook is the CEO of Orchard Advisors, where entrepreneurs, business and community leaders, and philanthropists turn when they want to Live Large and grow both their enterprises and their impact. A mother, grandmother, and ardent hiker, she lives on Music Row in Nashville. Elizabeth believes that if we all loved our work, we could change the world! Her first book, Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next, was published May 2017 by GreenLeaf Book Group.