A conversation with a college student has pushed me to address the issue of alignment between oneself and one’s occupation. If you have ever taken the Myers Brigs you may have an idea of what I am talking about. It may seem rudimentary but aligning one’s self with a complimentary profession is not a cut and dry task. The Myers Brigs predefined profiles often times can give great insight into what direction one may want to pursue but is it enough?
People in large part don’t know what they want. We think we know what we want but we don’t. I am a perfect example. When I started college I wanted to be a music major. My parents knew that was a poor choice, my friends knew I wasn’t supposed to go down that path, but I was completely unaware that I was built with an engineer’s mind. After a few quarters of general classes I began to see the light. In retrospect I believe it was more Devine intervention than my own doing but ultimately I realized I was built to solve problems, not make music.
So, why is alignment important? Ultimately it boils down to contentment. If you find yourself in a position that is not complimentary to who you are you will not be happy. Big surprise right? Well, it happens much more than you may realize. Often times people chase after a profession or business because they believe that is where they will find the money. This may be true but it is not where they will find their happiness. They will justify their decision by compensating outside of their daily obligations but when it comes down to it they spend so much time doing what they hate they don’t find the contentment they thought they would find.
In your own business or in a job having alignment will result in amazing performance. People who love what they do fundamentally will do it better that those who don’t. This is an important principle to keep in mind when looking into starting a business. There are so many people competing in every market that there is no room for fakes or pseudo committed individuals. A small business that was started because someone thought they could make some easy money fast will ultimately fail.
Being aligned provides a competitive advantage over the competition. Whether the competition is another employee or another business, your alignment will give you an edge that others won’t have. Properly aligned individuals are constantly thinking about new and creative ways to execute their business ideas. People that are not properly aligned simply want to put in what is required and then walk away.
A prominent business owner I know consistently surprises me with all of his new ideas. The man has more money than he knows what to do with yet he continues to find ways to refine his organization. The reason? He doesn’t do it for the money, he simply loves what he does. If he was only motivated by money his organization would at best be a mediocre business.
Google is another great example of this. Larry Page and Sergey Brin built Google as a solution the nets inability to efficiently be queried. Now, they didn’t neglect the monetary side of business but their driving motive was not dollar bills. Take some time and look into the business culture of Google and you will quickly see it is not a company out only to make a dime.
Now that I have addressed the importance of alignment, how can someone achieve it? An option that I have found very effective is the use to the Theory Of Constraints Thinking Process. Applying this to the individual to identify core competencies can uncover what is needed for alignment. The process is quite involved but yields great results and will show you more about yourself than you care to know.