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Finding Your Goldilocks Zone
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Goldilocks is fast asleep when the bears return home.
She found her perfect bed, not too big and not too soft.
After eating her fill of the perfect porridge that wasnt too hot and wasn't too sweet. Goldilocks had tested the beds upstairs and fell into a deep sleep.
The three bears were none too pleased with this breach of neighbourly etiquette and devour Goldilocks.
Or, the Goldilocks jumps out of a window and is never seen again.
Or Goldilocks explains how hungry and tired she was and befriend the forgiving bears and they all live happily ever after.
Which version of the story do you believe for your life?
The version usually shared with your kids probably has Mama, Papa and Baby Bear and Goldilocks escapes, is rescued from the woods by her mother and vows never to dare go in the woods again.
It's the expectation that if you ever dare to find that sweet spot in your life, someone will come and immediately take it away from you for being undeserving and you can never go back to find it.
And so you allow stress to build in your life. You work way too many hours and spend far longer than anyone should in pointless meetings.
And then someone tells you that you must find your life/work balance as you chuckle inwardly that anyone still believing that myth is deluded.
The life work balance myth
I meet few people who have found their work and life balance.
To most it remains a myth or a mirage in the dessert of a stressful life.
We've bills to pay and children to feed. A demanding boss and impossible deadlines to meet. Who has time to exercise, eat healthy and well, play with the kids, have quality time with your partner, spend time with the family, enjoy fulfilling friendships outside work, participate in sports and be active in the community, let alone give back to society.
And we all know that our time here is limited. That we are here for but a breath. There simply isnt time to have our cake and eat it.
Most people I meet through my work are way out of balance. Work has taken over and become the focus of all energies. Everything else is put to one side in a pretense that one day you'll come back to it. And then something snaps.
There has to be more to life than this!
Work, like the big bear's bed can become too hard and like his porridge, too lumpy.
It's tempting to escape out of the window and run away and become a Corporate Refugee, seeking the solace and comfort of entrepreneurship.
Or you might compromise and choose to make a radical shift to do something you love and enjoy, but still pays a reasonable salary.
The world used to refer to this as a 'mid-life crisis'. Only it is no longer the exclusive domain of men in their early 50's who trade the wife for a younger model and suddenly have a desire to drive a red sports car. Now it's a crisis that can hit at any age, and several times.
What matters most at this point is that you choose to be at cause for your life and less at the effect of your boss.
Fleeing the corporate world is a desire of many.
Continue doing what you do well but without the craziness of fat cat shareholders, demanding bosses and all those meetings.
Instead, the lure of ëntrepreneurship tolls its bell and many set up shop.
Only now there's no salary and the demanding boss is replaced by an even more demanding client (if you are fortunate enough to secure one of those!) and there's not enough money to pay people to do the drudge work.
So are you an entrepreneur - building a business that employs others, or are you a freelancer?
I get to meet an increasing number of young entrepreneurs who have followed their passion and desire to set up in business as a means of avoiding the corporate rat race, only to find that daddy's generosity does have an end point and suddenly the overheads and burn rate are too much to bear. Sadly, many realise too late that the skill set for running a business is not their strength and even though they are the founder, it is not always essential to be the CEO.
With bills to pay, many corporate refugees return within two years. Beyond that and few make it back to the golden land of salarydom.
A compromise is made. Some choose to return to a corporate salary as being safe and secure even at the expense of a personal life.
A few brave souls, stick it out scrambling for a few crumbs at the freelancers table. But then there are those who planned and chose to be at cause. They followed their passion and leveraged their talents and strengths to provide a product or service the world needs and that they want to pay for.
Those few, those mighty few found their Goldilocks zone, they have found their sweet spot.
Finding the Goldilocks Zone
This Goldilocks zone is that sweet spot where four parameters cross:
What I am good at
What I love to do
What the world needs, and
What I can get paid for
It is based on the Japanese concept of Ikigai, or Reason for Being.
You can find your Golidlocks zone in corporate work, or in a small business. Perhaps a charity or an NGO. It's a place where passion meets profit and talent meets a need.
Let's take a brief look at each of the four parameters and how you can choose to be at cause for your career or business and find your own Goldilocks Zone.
What I am good at
Do you know what you are good at doing?
Do you know your talent?
Surprisingly few people know their own talent. If I were to ask you now, you might struggle to reply.
Sure, there are some things that you know that you do well, but is that a talent? Is it a real strength?
I'll share a few simple exercises and worksheets that you can use later to work through this in your own time. For now, I'd like you to think of three things that you do well on a regular basis.
When you compare your ability in this area to your immediate peers, friends and family, this is what you would consider to be a strength.
You know one of mine is cooking. I am gifted in the culinary arts. Not all dishes, you may recall an earlier episode where I confessed to my lack of skills in the pastry kitchen.
I am most certainly better at cooking than most people I meet, and sadly, a lot better than most professional chefs. I have a talent. In part because I have a natural gift, in greater part because I have practiced a great deal and do so daily.
I'm also very good at tech. And I can teach.
These, you already know about me. But what about you?
What do you do better than others, perhaps more rapidly, perhaps to a better standard.
Make a mental note for now, and a proper note later on the worksheet.
Now we know what you are good at, let's see what you enjoy.
There are plenty of American Idol contestants who had a great deal of passion and little talent. William Hung comes worryingly back to my mind, but there have been plenty more.
The reality TV series loved to focus attention on contestants who were loud and proud and utterly tone deaf.
But they were passionate and that passion drives people to do crazy things as well as good things.
Let's consider what you thoroughly enjoy doing.
For me, I love to cook. It's my relaxation and time of innovation. I can play in my mind and have fun when I cook. Even under stressful conditions, I still love the challenge. Which highlights, for me, something else I really enjoy. A challenge. Not too much. Not too difficult, but stretched just beyond my comfort zone.
And I love the áha'moment, when someone I am coaching achieves a breakthrough. Just for a while, I can enjoy the feeling of being a part of that breakthrough.
So I thoroughly enjoy to cook, a suitable challenge and helping people achieve those breakthrough moments.
What about you? When do you get that rush of love, that proudful moment, a deep desire to repeat and make a difference?
Now you have your strengths and possibly your talents, how do these fit in what you thoroughly enjoy to do?
So what does the world need that fits your strengths and passions?
What the world needs now, is love sweet love. In the immortal words of Burt Bacharach.
It's great to know what you are great at doing and that you would enjoy it. But perhaps the world simply isn't ready for it.
It will save you a lot of time and a great deal of heartache if you figure out what the world needs that you can and would enjoy doing.
There are two important days in your life. The first is when you were born, the second is when you find out why.
And the wonderful news is that there is definitely someone, somewhere who needs what you can do for them.
When you love to meet something that the world needs, you have found your mission in life.
I know, for sure, that the world needs to eat. And they need to eat more healthily. Since I love to cook and I am decently good at it, I could, for example, set up a soup kitchen, a restaurant, a cafe.
Or I could work for a company that does that.
OK, so I've been there, seen it and done it. And for sure, I had found a very good niche for me.
But I wanted more than that. I needed a challenge and I need that 'aha' moment. And working fewer hours, that would be nice.
What do you do well that you enjoy doing that the world needs?
Forget what the world needs, focus on what they want.
Perhaps the slightly more important question is not what the world needs, but what the world wants.
A lot of my own work is in leadership development, as you'll know.
What I always find fascinating is that it is never the people in the workshop room who need this training the most, they always tell me that their bosses should be on this programme.
There are plenty of frustrated inventors and innovators in the world. Think of Polaroid Polarvision - a forerunner of video. Google Glass, New Coke, the Apple Newton, DeLorean cars, Betamax and the Ford Edsel.
Watch any Shark Tank or Dragon's Den show and often young and always enthusiastic wannapreneurs pitch their fantastic, life changing product to the completely unenthusiastic response of would be backers.
People will pay for something that they want. Which may not be the same as what they need. For example, people will pay to eat a burger and fries knowing that this is not good for them. People will buy and use a PMD instead of walking, even when walking is a better choice for their good health and life. They don't need a PMD, it's just fun and easier.
So indeed, the world needs to eat more healthily, but do they want to? And will they pay for it? Which neatly brings us to the fourth element in fidning your Goldilocks zone: What you can get paid for. what the world will pay for
It is very laudable to have a clear mission that you are passionate about. Using your strengths and talents that you love to use to provide something that the world needs.
But who will pay your bills?
This is where it can be tempting to fall back into the rat race of doing what you can do for money - otherwise known as a profession.
If you don't love it and the world doesn't really need it, then you will soon face another crisis of finding purpose in life, let alone balance.
It can also be tempting to focus only on meeting a world need for money, a vocation. Even if you are (honestly) not terrifically good at it, nor do you particularly enjoy doing it. I've met a whole lot of teachers who would fit in this spot.Let's come back to you.
You have some idea of what you are good at doing and surely you know what you love to do.
What does the world need that would benefit greatly from your strengths and talents and can you do this in such a way that you get paid to do so?
It's all about getting your balance right, and of course, not neglecting that life is about much more than work.
Finding your balance
You can choose to be at cause for your life and career by identifying a way to use your strengths and talents to do something that the world needs and will pay for that you will thoroughly enjoy doing.
Maybe it's not possible in your work right now. But you can do it for your home life.
Because the same reasoning applies. Instead of the world's needs, seek to fulfil your family's needs. And your pay is in love and affection.
Consider your health life too: What can you do well enough that you enjoy doing for your own good health?
Your Spiritual life, your Personal Development life.
Ulitmately, find your Goldilocks zone for all six areas of your life:
Health and Well-Being
When you find your Goldilocks zone, it will become effortless to keep it in balance.
Finding Your Reason for Being
I've created a couple of worksheets for you to help you find your Goldilocks Zone.
To get these, you'll need to login to the VIP.AdvantEdge.Online with your Simplero ID and password and you'll be able to access these for free.
And, if you don't yet have a Simplero ID, simply click on Forgot your password and using the same email address I have for you, the system will autogenerate your ID and password.