Why Do You Do What You Do?


ESPN recently published an article on Major League Baseball superstar, Ichiro Suzuki.  The article is simultaneously fascinating and depressing, though not surprising.  It explains how Ichiro has reached a level of professional peak performance and sustained baseball excellence, yet is still incredibly unhappy and unfulfilled.  He is successfully miserable.

I lived in Japan for 10 amazing years.  Early on I had a chance to do extensive research on successful Japanese companies, business culture, and the often bewildering customs that make Japan so unique.  And here is one trait that sets the Japanese apart:  They posses a preternatural ability — both singularly and collectively — to obsessively focus on perfecting a task, action, or outcome.  In Ichiro’s case, it was being able to hit a baseball left-handed even though he is naturally right-handed.  Why did he learn to hit lefty?  We’ll get to that in a minute.

The bigger issue is why Ichiro began playing baseball in the first place.  Because his father forced him to.  At age 3.  Now 44 years old, Ichiro was recently asked what he will do when he retires.  "I think I will just die," he answered.

As a business transformation keynote speaker, I often ask my audiences, “Why do you do what you do?”  How would you answer that question?  Did you make a decision to get into your chosen field out of guilt, obligation, or a sense of duty?  That is what Ichiro did.  (He no longer speaks to his father by the way.)  Are you afraid that if you decide to leave your job to pursue something you really enjoy, you won’t make enough money?  

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, do not despair.  Here are three simple steps to get you motivated and moving in the right direction.

Get into Action Now:  

Step 1.  Spend 10-minutes per day discovering your Zone of Genius by answering these four questions from the book, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks:

  1. What do you most love to do?  (You love so much you can do it for long stretches of time without getting tired or bored.)
  2. What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work?  (You can do it all day long without ever feeling tired or bored.)
  3. In your work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent?  (Even if you do only ten seconds or a few minutes of it, an idea or a deeper connection may spring forth that leads to huge value.)
  4. What is you unique ability?  (There is a special skill you’re gifted with.  This unique ability, fully realized and put to work can provide enormous benefits to you and any organization you serve.)

Step 2.  Done is better than perfect.  Get into RELEVANT action immediately to bring about your Zone of Genius.  Don’t worry about “how” you’re going to achieve your goal — just make a powerful DECISION about what you want and by when.  Then — and I don’t care where you are, what time it is, or who you’re with — take an additional 10-minutes to complete one relevant task that will move you closer to achieving your goal.  

Step 3.  There is no Step 3.  Repeat steps one and two until you have achieved your Zone of Genius.  

And don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  You have unlimited resources at your disposal — including me and my motivation, leadership, and knowledge.  If you get stuck or need help figuring out how to achieve your Zone of Genius, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @mpveltri.   I’ll be sure to get back to you right away.

Otherwise, you’ll end up successfully miserable like Ichiro.  Who’s dad taught the right-hander to hit lefty to gain a few precious extra steps out of the batter’s box to get to first base quicker.  Imagine what you could accomplish if you made those sacrifices to be preternaturally successful in a vocation you are really passionate about?  You could literally change the world. 

Learn more at https://michaelveltri.com/about