I recently read Icarus Deception and really felt like it helped give me a different perspective on my work. In the book, Seth Godin makes the basic point that we are transitioning from a work-based industrial age into a relationship-based connection age. He argues that like no other time before, we have the ability to make what he calls art. In the book he defines art as being the process you go through when you pour a piece of yourself into something with the purpose of connecting with a certain audience. He says that the most important aspect of your work in today’s connection economy is making an impact on others.
I agree with him. We have greater infrastructure in place today allowing us as individuals to connect with a larger number of people than ever before. This is an economy where everyone can create. Everyone can connect. Each connection inspires more creation because connections create change.
Even if you don’t practice painting, writing, or creating other types of traditional art, you are still making art. The way you do your job is art. When you think about things from this perspective, it frames certain questions in a new light, such as “What kind of change do I want to make in my audience? Who do I want my customers to become?” Do your job with such passion and interest that you feel you’re making art with what you do. Be the lawyer whose articulate argument is so airtight it leaves others that witness it in awe. Be the accountant that not only knows the numbers forward and back, but also can elegantly unravel the most complex business transactions for others to understand. Doing this means going outside the lines, thinking for your self, and doing things differently. It means making changes in your routine and going the extra mile not because of the direct appreciation or reward you will get, but just because you feel it’s better that way.
Sometimes we all get stuck in a rut. Sometimes we all can admit that it’s easier to follow instructions or look to our boss to tell us what to do next. This is easier because we’re not engaging when we have this perspective. We’re passively working to get the job done. Invest in your work and you will rise up. People will notice. Do you what you think needs to be done, not what you think will make others happy. Not only will you find that you learn more about yourself, your work, and others by doing so, but you will gain the respect of and inspire those around you.
So if you’ve started to feel like work is dead and hollow, or if you’ve questioned why you do what you do – think for a moment how you can apply yourself in a new creative way. What small details can you change about your job that will help transform that regular work into art?
All of these things come together and create an intriguing picture of you.