3 Secrets to a Successful Career

Adventurous PlaceI am very excited about the new series Master Class on the Oprah Winfrey Network.  It is my favorite type of show to watch – inspiring, informative, and an insiders peek into learning from people who are authentically successful while making a difference.  I particularly enjoyed the recent episode with Diane Sawyer.   This woman is just plain inspiring and the sincerity with which she leads her life is what makes her great at what she does.  Because she is so authentic she can walk into the world’s most challenging circumstances and exude confidence and genuine curiosity. I can remember a few years ago when I was at Spamalot in New York City (Sawyer’s husband Mike Nichols directed the show) and lo and behold there was Diane just hanging out at the back of the theater.  You could literally feel her powerful presence yet she seemed content to just blend into the background with the rest of the crowd.

During the Master Class episode, Diane shared lessons from her father.  His simple, yet powerful  rules for being successful in your life’s chosen work.

1) Do Something You Love (and Would Do Anyway)

Some call this the do what you love and the money will follow principle but it is bigger than that.  If you choose to do something you love, especially if it is something you would do anyway (even if  no one were paying you) you will never work a day in your life.  This criteria will give you the fortitude and persistence to stay strong and pursue your desires during the good times and the more challenging times.  You will also naturally be more successful because we’ve all encountered people who are doing something they hate or could care less about and it is a joyless experience to do business with or work alongside them.

2) Do it in the Most Adventurous Place

I really liked this criteria.  Not for Diane’s story she has done her thing at the far reaches of the globe in some of the most beautiful and some of the most dangerous places on our planet.  Now that is certainly adventure.  However, we each define adventure differently.  So don’t feel like you have to go be an accountant in Bhutan if you want adventure.  I consider adventurous to be a state of mind.  You can make any place you are interesting and more adventure-filled.  So I would translate this into being – do what you love in the most exciting and captivating place for you.

3) Help Other People

While you’re doing what you’re doing…help other people.  Serving other people is a path to satisfaction and success.  It brings meaning to what you do.  Without meaning and an element of service, money is useless (and frankly will tend to elude you).  Helping other people can look like a humanitarian effort on a big scale or simply helping your fellow co-worker and associates. In all cases there is a ripple effect that has a positive impact greater than you can ever know.

What I loved most about these simple lessons is their truth is as strong today as it was decades ago when her father shared them with her in rural Kentucky.  It has nothing to do with the “20 hottest careers”, the economy, or any industry.  It transcends it all and frankly that is truly what makes for career success, satisfaction, and a meaningful life.

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