Author Simon Sinek’s recent blog post argues that a great way to find more fulfillment, meaning, and satisfaction in your career (and I would argue in your extracurricular activities) is to help others find the same.
“If you want to get a better job, first and foremost, take charge of your own lot. If you wish to feel more engaged, fulfilled and happy at work, make it your obsession to help the people around you find more engagement, fulfillment and happiness in their jobs. Create it. Not simply for you. Create it for the people around you.”
At first glance, that might seem like a nice sentiment that doesn’t necessarily translate into career success. But there’s a growing body of writing and research that argues just how vital helping others is in pursuit of your own success, some of the most convincing of which comes from University of Pennsylvania’s Adam Grant’s book Give and Take, which I discussed in a past post.
And this approach aligns nicely with Stanford’s Jim Collins’s recommendation that while you can’t necessarily change an entire company (or school, or club, or organization), you can create a pocket of greatness by focusing relentlessly on your particular area.
Collins isn’t arguing that you should selfishly focus on your own interests alone. He’s lobbying that you take responsibility for what you can make great. And if you work with other people, you can make them great, too.