One of the things that intrigues me is why we do the things we do.
I believe, whether we realize it or not, that we steer ourselves toward certain lines of work.
It seems that our work represents a significant aspect of our personality. We like to live life a certain way and we find work that fits what we like.
I see it in myself and I’ve seen it when looking at others as well. I’m not saying it’s true in every case. I can imagine that people that hate their job probably didn’t push themselves into those positions.
But maybe some of them found jobs they hate because in a weird way it satisfies them when they’re unhappy. They get some satisfaction from complaining to others about their job.
Maybe not, but that’s how my brain works sometimes.
Anyway, this is just meant to be a fun post looking at my own personality and some of the reasons I think I do what I do for work.
Independence. Being able to do what you want without anyone controlling you. I think it’s a vital instinct for nearly all humans.
But it seems stronger in some than in others. Maybe some people even like a certain level of control.
Not me. I can deal with it. I can take direction…to a point, but I don’t like being told what to do especially if I have a feeling that something should be done another way.
Since I was a kid I wanted to run a business. I wanted to be on my own in some way. I had a job out of college for awhile and that was fine, but the itch was there.
I don’t know if I could go back.
Very similar to the first one, but I think there are a few differences.
I recently hear Pat McAfee on his podcast say that one thing that really bothered him, perhaps to the point of retiring, was the fact that as the punter of the Indianapolis Colts he had almost no control over the outcome of the game.
That’s the exact feeling I get when I’m working a job. No control.
Maybe it’s also why I opt for individual sports and activities. I love golf and I love hunting. Even in college I liked working on my own vs. in teams. I remember the final year I was working on a project with two lazy kids. I told them to buy me a couple cases of beer and I would do all the work and get them at least a B.
I have trouble giving up control. That’s worked both for and against me in business.
But ultimately I want the control and responsibility for outcomes as much as possible.
On the introvert/extrovert spectrum I’m definitely more toward the introverted side. I like spending time with people, but it drains my energy. I need to be alone to recharge the batteries.
I like working at home. I like writing because it’s a solitary activity. I don’t like meetings. I don’t like group brainstorming. Even in the corporate world I would prefer to leave a brainstorming session so I could go back to my office to brainstorm on my own.
4. Slow Thinking
I find myself to be a fan of slow thinking. That might not even be the correct term for it. And I recognize the value in thinking fast. Making fast decisions. But in my life I’ve liked to take some time to think things through. I don’t like feeling pressure.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t make decisions in a timely fashion. I’m very prompt. But I need a little time to think.
5. Problem Solving
I like solving problems. That’s pretty much what business is all about. It’s not all fun. In fact, I get itchy when things are going good because I know that something is probably going to come around the bend that will flip things completely on end. I’m comfortable when there are problems. I like solving problems. I even like losing…in a sense because it’s clear what needs to be worked on.
6. Being Underestimated
When I lose, I love it.
When a potential client chooses another agency, I love it.
I like being underestimated. It motivates me.
I don’t like when people have expectations for me. I never liked hearing that I had potential.
There is leverage when people underestimate you. It’s a form of motivation. Maybe not to necessarily get back at them or prove them wrong, but it provides this feeling that you will succeed and it’s too bad that some people just couldn’t see it or believe in it.
This is similar to how I like to think slow. I like patience.
I like country music and Eric Church came out with the release a video for his single, Sinners Like Me, ten years after the song was originally released. He had it in the vault that long. It wasn’t a hit single so he held onto the video knowing that it would have a cool impact down the road.
How cool is that?
Here is a guy thinking 10+ years in the future when it comes to his life and career. Most people don’t look past next week or even tomorrow.
Patience. It’s a real key to success.
I do like connecting with people. Social media has been great for introverts like me. I don’t like talking on the phone so email, chat and things like that have been amazing.
It allows me to connect and work with people all over the world. I love it and I like the fact that my job lets me connect with so many great people. Maybe not in person, but still in a way that’s pretty meaningful.
I like having a schedule. I’ve taken a few personality tests and this one always pops up. I like having things scheduled out. I don’t like when my schedule gets interrupted.
When I get a call out of the blue there is a 0.01% chance that I’ll answer it. It would have to be my wife. Anyone else? I’m not answering. You better schedule it.
My job and today’s technology allows me to schedule things. I like doing things on my own time. I think everybody does and today’s communication tools have exposed that nature in many of us.
One final thing that I like that is similar to scheduling thing is consistency. Blogging is very consistent. At least the way I’ve always done it is. And the way our business is setup.
We do ongoing blogging. Regular schedules. Consistency.
I like working with people that are consistent in the way they live their lives. You can rely on them. Obviously that doesn’t always happen, but it’s what I look for.
Just a fun little trip through my brain. These are some of the reasons I think I ended up as a blogger and small business owner. If you asked any of my writing teachers in school (if they remember me) they would probably laugh at the prospect of what I’m doing now.
But when I look back it makes sense. My personality fits with what I do for a living.
Now, if you’re interested, I invite you to try the same exercise. See if you can figure out the reasons you do what you do for your work.