Knowing this could change your life – It has changed mine

Knowing this could change your life - It has changed mine

I just learnt something so powerful it has profoundly changed me. It’s an insight I wish I had known 35 years ago. It would have changed my life’s path, and is changing it now. Here’s what a very wise man told me….

His name is Ken Robinson. Sir Ken to be precise. He’s an educator. A thinker. An inspiring speaker. It was David Ogilvy’s 100th birthday. And the auditorium was packed with 2,000 communications industry executives from around the world, eager to hear Sir Ken’s 40 minutes on ‘how to become more creative.’

In the midst of his speech, Sir Ken shared the insight that has changed my life. It’s so simple, so obvious. Yet – I’d never realised it before. Now that I do, it dominates my thinking about what I do; how I can be happier and how I can contribute more.

Find your element – And work in it every day
I am repeating here parts of STW’s excellent report on Sir Ken’s speech. In essence, Sir Ken said each of us have the jobs we have because we are good at a number of things important to that specific role.

Some of those things energise us. We’re good at them, and when we do them, we get inspired and motivated. (When I spend a morning training and coaching our young leaders, I finish the session and immediately go for a 10 km run. I am on fire. I have energy to burn. I don’t want the day to end).

But some of the things we do in our jobs deplete us, even though we’re good at them. (When I lead a series of budget review meetings, even though I do a good job playing the hard-nosed bad guy pushing for more, as soon as the day is over, it’s off to the pub for a wine and cigar, shoulders slumped and heart heavy).

Find your passion: Work in your element – Every day
The message from Sir Ken is to discover the things you love to do AND are good at doing. Build these increasingly into your job every day. You’re then operating in your element, and you’ll absolutely love every minute of it. Your energy changes. If you’re doing something you love, and what you’re good at, you get energy from it. If you don’t, it takes energy from you.

The valuable lesson for our lives
Think hard about what you do that you’re great at, and what you love doing. Try to reshape your roles so that you spend more and more time working in your element. Sharpen and deepen your skills in these areas. Make it your life’s work. Create the opportunities you feel you need. Find your best life: your most authentic life that feeds your natural appetite.

Sir Ken reminds us of Thoreau: “Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”

The valuable lesson for us as parents
And as a parent, the message for me from Sir Ken: ”All you want for your kids is for them to find their passion.”

What a great insight. If we can find what we love doing, be very good at it, and spend our working lives doing it, we’ll never ‘work’ a day of our lives. And if we can help our children find a similar path early in their professional lives, how amazing would that be? Thank you, Sir Ken.


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