“The magic happens when you find
the sweet spot where your genuine interests,
skills and opportunity intersect.”
– Scott Belsky
A few weeks ago Bryson DeChambeau won the US Open. A multi-skilled player, DeChambeau is best known for his distance off the tee. In June, while playing in the Traveller’s Championship, he hit a 428 yard drive. His current tour driving average is 324 yards. When questioned on DeChambeau’s spectacular ability to hit such long drives, his coach said, “He simply hits the sweet spot more often, producing better ball speed and accuracy.” Repeatedly hitting the sweet spot on a golf club, tennis racquet or baseball bat takes dedicated focused practice, and no less is true in our lives. So here’s my question, “Have you found your sweet spot?”
Believe it or not, this Pandemic may have provided us with an opportunity to find it. Sometimes it is during periods of upheaval, that we find our greatest clarity. We gain an understanding of what is really important in our lives, we witness and celebrate the value gained through our relationships, and we draw meaning from that which has brought us challenges. In other words we come to the realization that our life is a journey, and the challenges we are encountering are experiences from which we will grow and discover the sweet spots in our life (Yes, I am using a plural and there are multiple sweet spots).
In his book, The Element, the late Sir Ken Robinson refers to life’s sweet spot as the intersection of natural talent and personal passion; the point where people feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels. Daniel Pink, author of Drive, identifies our “sweet spot” as the intersection of the “Three C’s” – Control (directing our own life), Creating (learning and creating new things), and Contributing (creating a better world). And then there is Rick Wolf, author of this blog. I’m a bit more simplistic and like to think of our “Sweet Spots” as simply doing what we love to do, be it with our loved ones, through our work, or in service to the broader community.
The Pandemic has changed everything, but perhaps most significantly, it has given us a different perspective on things. For some it has been reflective; “What is it that makes me happy, that makes me feel successful and enables life to bring a smile to my face?” For others the reflections are work focused. Beyond the questions associated with business cut-backs, furloughs and closings they are asking, “Is this what I really want to be doing? So here is the moment of truth: How many of us can actually admit that we wish we were doing something else – something we actually love!
This change in perspective has become increasingly evident among business professionals and entrepreneurs who took a financial blow to their wallet this year; increasing numbers of whom pivoted to new career options unimaginable before March 2020. Enter Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet, considered by many to be the one of the greatest entrepreneurs and investors of all time, with some simple advice, “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.” His words are echoed by Apple’s Tim Cook, “Do what you love, and put your whole heart into it, and then just have fun.”
According to Cook, it all comes down to finding the sweet spot at the intersection of doing something we are passionate about and something that is in the service of others. Something that is compelling to the individual. When you love what you do, you have an intrinsic desire to be more productive because you believe in what you do and the difference your work makes in the lives of those whom you serve.
Loving what you do paves the way for a happy and fulfilled life, but life is a journey. While traveling this road we will experience multiple sweet spots. In my case, I’ve come to understand what success and happiness were at 25, 50 and now at almost 70 years of age. I wonder what they will look like at 80? You see, success and happiness are fleeting and will change over time, but understanding the importance of having passion for what we do, and doing it in the service of others, lights the way.