A young man took his artwork to the local market. He set up his booth with his paintings of a blue horse. People liked his work, but he never sold much. Each week he would go back hoping for someone to fall in love with his work.
One day one of his fellow artist friends stopped by to share a cup of coffee. They joked around and laughed.
A man came up to them and asked the artist if he could paint a yellow elephant for him. The artist laughed and said “I paint blue horses. Don’t you like them?”
“Yes, but my wife loves elephants and I thought…” said the man.
“I don’t do yellow elephants. I hate yellow,” said the artist as he brushed the man away.
So the man left.
After a few months, the young artist’s friend set up his own booth with paintings of yellow elephants. The young artist stopped by to have a cup of coffee with his friend and asked “What is this? Yellow elephants? No one will buy these ugly things.”
They laughed about it. The young artist was right. No one wanted the yellow elephants. That was until the man from a couple months ago stopped by.
“These are beautiful. How much?”
“For which one?”
“For all of them?”
Do you have stories that you tell yourself that hold you back? E.g. when someone asks you to work on a project and instead of trying to make it your own you dismiss it or don’t try your best to do a good job?
Might it be possible to create a project in your career that delivers happiness for them as well as to you?
No one taught me the skills on how to build a career that would make me happy. At every step of my education I was taught to execute other people’s ideas well. A teacher would give me an assignment and I would figure out how to make them happy.
Did you have a similar upbringing?
I was told I was a terrible writer. I should put my energy into “other” things.
I believed him and many others for the longest time.
The thing was I loved to write. I love everything about the process. I never gave up on this dream and now I have a popular blog that has been read by over 1 million people. I don’t consider myself an amazing writer, not even a great one, but I’m definitely good and it helps me earn a living.
What matters is I love writing, it allows me to help people I care about, and it helps me grow my career.
My first job out of college I had a boss come in to help be the butter between the employees and the CEO. He loved me. He really wanted to help make me happy, but I didn’t know what made me happy. I coasted because it was easier than figuring out what I wanted out of my career.
I was never given tools to learn more about my own happiness in my own work.
“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.” – J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation
I had to teach myself how to develop projects that excited me from within instead of following someone else’s guidelines. This was a painful process that after many years of trial and error, I finally got down and put into a guide.
I want you to start planting your own seeds in your mind.
Good questions do just that.
One seed could start a domino effect that can change your career in just a few months. When your passions, focus, and strengths align, change can happen very fast. That one seed could help you break out of the career box you might have put yourself in from long ago.
Use these 3 quality questions to unlock your happiness:
1. What stories do I tell myself that hold me back from doing great work?
2. What is one thing I can do right now that will make me happy?
3. Who can I offer to help that helps me build a stronger friendship?
Your career happiness is dependent on you. Your boss isn’t going to discover some hidden strength that helps you grow your career. He’s worried about his own career.
To take back control of your own career, you have to be willing to try new projects that will push you outside your comfort zone just a bit. When you create projects that help you build resume layers that also add to your happiness, growing it from your core values, and the best part is you’ll find it easier to be happy and do great work
Are you ready to start planting career happiness seeds to grow your career over the next year?