Connectedness: The Reason for Being
Those that work with me know that I lead with my Ideation and Futuristic talents. For the sanity of myself and my work family, I (typically) prescribe to a filter to keep focused on ideas that might actually have legs. I simply consider the idea and then identify if it a. Meets or Exceeds a Customer or Client Need and b. Can be Supported by our Business Model. If the idea cannot measure up against these filters, I move on to the next idea. If the business model and the customer need intersect, that is where the magic begins.
Being predisposed to the simplicity of intersections, I was drawn to a concept called ikigai, which one of the speakers introduced at the recent 2018 Clifton Strengths Summit. Ikigai (pronounced "eye-ka-guy") is a Japanese term that roughly translates to "reason for being". Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at (your vocation/talents/strengths) and what you love to do (your passion). It is a place where your talents and passions converge with things the world needs (your mission) and what you can be paid for (your profession).
Naming your StrengthsFinder Top 5 Talent Themes (that which you are good at) and aiming them into your work (that which you can be paid for), appear to me to be the easiest parts of this ikigai equation. At the risk of sounding overly optimistic here (Positivity #4), I believe most people should have the ability to weave their natural talents into their everyday work - as long as they have leaders who are dedicated to their development. The more you can work in your "strengths zone", the more you will start to love what you do. That's three out of four on the ikigai scorecard.
"That which the world needs" seems to me to be the most elusive part of the ikigai equation. Aristotle wrote "where the needs of the world and your talents cross, therein lies your vocation" - yet another intersection! One way to start down this path is to craft a personal purpose statement. Your personal purpose statement describes the areas of interest which engage you most, the people you would like to serve and the best way for you to do this work. I am in the process of crafting my own purpose statement and will share it with you in an upcoming blog.
If anyone is still reading - and relating - to this particular post, there is a good chance that the StrengthsFinder Talent Theme of Connectedness is high on their list. People with Connectedness believe everyone and everything is part of something larger and that we are all connected in some way. They believe we must not harm or exploit others, because by doing so, we will be harming and exploiting ourselves. They are generally considerate, caring and accepting and believe that almost every event has a reason. They give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond everyday existence. They help build bridges between people and groups, showing them how to relate to and why they rely on each other.
To leverage the Talent Theme Connectedness towards a pathway to professional excellence, just "connect these dots".....
* People with Connectedness often have strong faith and/or deep convictions about social issues. Your knowledge and acknowledgement of their spiritual and social beliefs will deepen relationships and enable them to become more comfortable and open.
* People with Connectedness naturally think about how things are connected. Have them show how each department within the organization is reliant on the other to improve understanding and general cooperation between departments.
* People with Connectedness enjoy feeling like part of something larger than themselves. Encourage them to participate - or initiate - volunteer projects around causes they feel strongly about.
Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort. He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents. Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan