What's Your Bliss

I was first showed the bliss venn diagram by Laura Moriarty of Tahoe Training Partners. She and I were working through what direction I wanted to take my career, and she pulled out this chart showing the four criteria from which I could choose. While it wasn’t a Magic Eight-Ball and never really produced the “answer” for me, it did open up a whole new way of looking at colleagues and team members.

The biggest takeaway from the diagram was how many people I knew were not in their bliss — including myself. As a generalist, I have always been able to do lots of things pretty well, and I’ve found lots of bosses willing to pay me for my skills. In hospitality, I thought I had found a profession that the world would always need, and that made me feel secure in my field. However, what I had left too much out of the equation was what made me tick, what made me jump out of bed on Monday morning and say, Yes! I get to go in to work, today. From that point on, I was that much more self-aware of what drew me into a position and what turned me off.

I started seeing how other people around me were out of their bliss, as well. Many people, especially those newer to their careers, were in love with the idea of something but didn’t have the skills. Notoriously, these millennials enter the workforce thinking they know everything and can do just as well (or better) than leaders in their field. They ended up frustrated by how little the company was willing to pay them for their work.

Some had been promoted into management positions where they were not good at managing people or they lost their love of what they had been doing. We all know how difficult the transition from technician to manager can be, and too many were over their skis flying downhill toward a crash. Promotions and risk-taking are desirable to make more money, but people sometimes don’t think about how the nature of the work will change their experience of the job.

Whatever the reason, too many people I knew were out of their bliss but didn’t even know it. They were usually driven by the money and once they found themselves making the kind of income they wanted, they thought everything would be better. But that’s usually not the case.

At the 2015 Nizuc Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit, Dane Sanders gave a great presentation on the difference on three concepts: Be, Do, Have. Lots of people think if they Have things they want they will get to do things that make them happy. But he says that it’s the other way around: if we are everyday the way we want to Be, then we will Do the things that match our state of being and we’ll Have the things we really need in life (Be-Do-Have instead of Have-Do-Be).

The bliss diagram clearly lays out how important being who you want to be is to the professional version of Be-Do-Have. Are you doing the kind of work that makes you happy each and every day? If not what parts can you off-load or delegate? Are you contributing skills to your team as much as you could? If not, how can you do more of it to earn your real value?

If you’re a leader, what are you doing to find people who are going to fit into your organization in a way that creates the highest likelihood for their own bliss. We talk about creating an amazing company culture by giving things to people: weekly office lunches, holiday parties, raises, more paid time off, flextime, work from home once/week, etc. But these are things that we give to employees to Have. What we should really be focusing on is getting them into their bliss so they can Be who they are without a carrot or stick leading them where you want them to go.