Listen to Your Heart

work-heart“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”

– Earl Nightingale

Cells are the foundation of life. Each cell works together to help you survive. Unnourished cells become sluggish. It’s these cells that are starving. They don’t just want to live they want to thrive.

You must constantly feed these cells to keep them energized. That means eating right, sleeping well and feeding your curiosity every single day.

You’ve seen a train pulling over a hundred freight cars behind them. It takes a long time for a train to get the whole load moving, but once it does it requires a lot less energy to maintain velocity.

Your Internal Train

Your mind, heart, and cells want to do amazing work. They want work they can get lost in, be so consumed that time ceases to exist. The best way to do this is to find a deeper purpose behind your work. If you are working for the paycheck the internal train will stall on a regular basis. There is never enough money to compensate you for your time away from things you truly love.

As I was doing research on various people, I discovered underlying truths to people who loved what they did and loved making money while doing it.

These concepts are:

  • Know your purpose
  • Have a deep understanding of your needs
  • Enjoy the process

Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farms, is the perfect example of being guided from his internal passion train instead of external needs.

Purpose must be your greatest focus

Gary is a serial entrepreneur who started in business teaching sustainable agricultural practices. He partnered with Stonyfield farms to initially help pay for his sustainable farming school. Eventually he jumped all in. He believed the world needed healthier dairy products and people would pay for it. He borrowed money from family, friends, and anyone who would believe in his organic yogurt. His mother in-law believed that Gary would succeed because he couldn’t see himself failing.

What project have you recently worked on where you refused to fail? (i.e. cooking an amazing meal, teaching your child to read)

Why was this work so important to you?

The purpose behind your work is where you will find the greatest motivation. It’s this intrinsic motivation that stirs your cells into action.

Deep Understanding of Your Needs

Gary has a deep need to create. As a serial entrepreneur he was an environmental activist, windmill-maker, author, and noted entrepreneur when he joined Stonyfield Farms. He needs to create.

What do you need to create? (By actually writing out what you need to create you are planting the seed to actually reach this goal.)

Why do you need to create this thing?

Every career is filled with choices. For every good choice you make, you will probably make two bad choices. When you understand your needs you will be able to make adjustments so they aren’t off course for very long.

Enjoy the process

Gary started Stonyfield by doing every job possible. He milked cows, shoveled manure, and delivered the yogurt to stores. He was a man on a mission. If he didn’t enjoy getting dirty, he would have stayed in the safety of his institute. I bet he is glad that he doesn’t have to do these difficult jobs now, but during these early days it was needed and even loved.

What actions do you enjoy?

Why do you enjoy these actions?

Finding a way to enjoy the process comes back to purpose, understanding what your goals are, and what it takes to accomplish them.

Career Values

“The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what values they should be living for.” – Joseph Campbell

Your values should align with your career. Do you believe in earth conservation, but work for a company that paves over large acres of land? This example is extreme, but it happens all the time. People rationalize their choices and hate themselves for doing it.

You have to understand what values you need to live to be happy.

My top 5 career values are:

  • Have fun
  • Stay curious
  • Seek the truth
  • Enjoy the process
  • Teach my knowledge

If I can’t do this in my job, I refuse to work. I absolutely need every one of these concepts to be happy.

As you may have noticed, my values are very broad. I worked for some pretty lousy bosses and still was able to live these concepts. Every part of my career, good and bad, led me to where I am now. My gratitude for my terrible and amazing career teachers is unwavering.

What values do you need to be happy in your career?

Be a Truth Seeker

One of my favorite truth seekers is Hugh Macleod of Gaping Void, a person who has learned to optimize his superpowers and leverage them into a brilliant career.

Hugh is a cartoonist who turned his passions into a business. He started a blog, wrote and drew about his pain, and figured out how to make it profitable. He is commissioned for projects, sells prints of his work, writes books and speaks to audiences.

I first met Hugh at the South by South West (sxsw) web interactive conference in 2009. Before I saw him speak, I had heard of him and maybe checked out his blog once but never really knew of him until he talked on a panel called “From Blog to Book Deal.” He threw around the F-word, laughed at silly comments from the audience, and let his real personality out.

The best part of his talk was his ability to cut through the bullshit. He wasn’t afraid to stop someone in the middle of a question and tell them that they needed to look a little deeper within themselves.

His calls his cartoons “cube grenades” because they help people see their own truth. People want someone who can cut through the fog and help them see life clearly.

When you are searching for truth you can help people get closer to their truth, too. It’s why I became a business coach. I wanted to seek my truth and now I want to help people develop their careers to help them live their truth.

Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farms, refused to let his dream die. Now his success allows him to sit on the boards of Dannon Yogurt, Applegate Farms, and many more great companies. He put himself in position to influence these companies to create more sustainable farming practices.

Your Turn

What is the truth that you seek?

How can you help people understand this truth?

* Join us at Party Biz Connect. We throw Twitter parties to help people launch their cool stuff that they’re putting out into the world. Marketing is changing, it’s about relationships. We all need to find ways to build relationships in a way that’s fun and doesn’t feel like work.

* Social Media Examiner has a cool post about LinkedIn (Are you a member?). It’s his 100,000,000 members. It’s a great networking tool, so if you haven’t joined up yet, go check it out.

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Image courtesy of Gabriela Camerotti

8 thoughts on “Listen to Your Heart”

  1. I think staying curious is the way to keep the passion strong.

    Passion is the ultimate energy for making things happen, and enjoying the process, as well as dealing with the setbacks along the way.

  2. Karl,

    I love your style and focus. I have come to realize that money simply doesn’t compensate for my time. As long as I have enough to live and support my family money becomes much less of a motivator. Purpose and passion are what drive me and I often do creative work just for the enjoyment. In the long term this is how to set up a life of fulfillment.

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  4. For some, success comes in days or weeks. For others, it takes years. I take my hat off, to those who struggle and believe in their business, even if they have to lose almost everything, including long years, to achieve their goals. Like the inventor, Thomas Edison.

  5. Hi Karl — yeah, this definitely resonates with me right now. My most recent project I’ve decided to do is create a computer game, along with my friend who knows a lot more about programming than I do. I’ve been writing this huge file describing the story that the game is going to tell, and I’m starting to get that feeling you’re describing that I’m willing to do anything it takes to get it done. That’s a great feeling.

  6. the top 5 career values are so interesting to me. It keeps me thinking about me! Well, to me I need to have fun with what I do. I think that is important to me. However, I also feel that the more curious I am, the better push I get. I love it when I know I am doing something that I like and want to do more of it…..

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