This month we’ve been tackling the journey of finding the perfect work soul mate – that job that fits us like a glove, inspires us, and meets our needs along the way. In my last post, I offered my own personal journey on how I found my perfect job. In this final post, I want to offer you a resource to help you along your own personal journey. Something More: The Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life, is the starting place for anyone searching for the path to perfect. Perhaps the most compelling reason to pack this book on your journey is that it reminds us that there is no such thing as one singular path to perfect. Written by Randy Hain, managing partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search, the book captures and tells the stories of a wide variety of professionals as they search for their perfect job and life. The stories are as unique as the author, Randy Hain.
I met Randy several years ago over coffee and immediately knew there was something different about him. It took me years to put into words what I was sensing. Then it hit me. Randy is on a mission to live and help others live a fully integrated and authentic life. What do I mean by integrated life? In a nutshell, Randy is trying to bring every part of himself to everything he does. Easy you say? Hardly. Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronics used the analogy of a house to describe the challenge of living an authentic integrated life. In Bill’s analogy, each of us has a room for family, a room for work, a room for faith, etc… Living an authentic integrated life is equivalent to breaking down all the walls inside your house leaving only a wide open space – a rare and difficult thing to fully realize. Conversations with Randy have this “wall-lessness” feel to them. He seamlessly moves from business to discussing the challenges of being the parent of a son with autism to his deep Catholic faith. He does it all in a matter-of-fact, here I am kind of way. No sales pitch. No judgment. Just a raw authenticity. As a result, there is a gravitational pull to Randy. People are attracted to his realness, directness, honesty and candor. The culmination of years of these kinds of “wall-less” conversations with professionals seeking more is the foundation of Something More. And while the book is a wonderful collection of unique stories of individuals searching for more, there are three powerful themes that are woven throughout the book that can serve each of us.
Regardless of the story, each professional in Something More wrestled with integrating work, family and their faith into their lives. What stands out across their unique journeys is the importance of seasons and timing when trying to mix that perfect elixir. It is a reminder to each of us that “perfect” means different things at different times. For some, “perfect” early in their careers was the turbo-charged, rocket-fueled 100 hour work week that came complete with trophies, titles and money until one day it wasn’t enough. The season changed and family became the focus. For others it was climbing the corporate ladder in a suit that just didn’t fit quite right. While the climb appeared successful to any outsider, there was something missing on the inside of the corporate climber. Their moral and ethical compass seemed at odds with their rapid ascent. The season changed and the protagonist strove to integrate work and faith in a more harmonious way. Regardless of the unique story, the reminder for each of us is that perfect can change with the seasons. When the time comes, the burden is on us to realize that the definition of perfect may have changed, accept it and, most importantly, make the shift.
Facing our deepest and darkest fears and overcoming those fears is the second powerful theme. The case is made with story after story that one cannot have the perfect job and life without overcoming one’s fear. What struck me the most while reading Something More was that regardless of the story, deep down every individual knew what was missing in his or her life. They knew what they wanted and, surprisingly, knew how to get there. The real issue was not discovering perfect but overcoming the fears that held them back from realizing what they wanted. From not meeting other’s expectations to not being “enough,” the stories are about facing one’s fears head-on. We are challenged to look in the mirror and face our deepest darkest fears. It is through that darkness that soul mates can be found. I’ve written before that the best antidote to overcoming fear is purpose, courage and faith. The stories in Something More take those principles to a whole new level.
The overall tenor and tone of Something More is one of hope and inspiration. Success after success, countless stories are told of people realizing their dreams. The seeds of self belief are subtlety planted. By the end of the book, there is a distinct voice in the back of one’s head saying, “I can have that too. It’s possible.” Hope and optimism. We need those in spades if we are going to make some of the bold moves that deep down we know we need to make.
So there you have it. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Something More, I highly recommend it. Consider it the ideal prescription for moving from lost to finding the meaningful job and life that each of us desires.
P.S. I believe in this book so completely, I bought a whole case and gave them out to one of my MBA classes a few weeks ago. Just sayin’…
April’s Dysfuntion of the Month: “Senior Management is Dysfunctional.” Sure to be juicy and likely will land me in trouble. Oh well… Someone’s gotta say it.