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  • Writer's pictureJohn Bowie

Keys to the Boardroom: Do What You Love

The secret of success is not about setting lofty goals about where you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years. The secret is knowing what you love to do and doing! Doing what you enjoy is the engine of success.

I have never had a career. I've done a series of things that I love doing. If I stopped enjoying it, I did something else. And that's really it-I never had a plan.

I had a couple of people from the business school over here a few weeks ago-they were graduate students taking a course on how people rise in organizations and they were asking me about it. I said, from my personal experience, I don't have a clue. I never set out to rise, I didn't have that ambition. You spend so much of your life working, that I don't know why anybody in their right mind would do it if they didn't enjoy what they were doing. But it’s left me a little bit at a loss to be very helpful to people who are trying to build careers in a more traditional way because I really don't have any personal experience about how to do that. I'm always tempted to give them the advice that they ought to just forget it. Go find something you like doing and just do it and let whatever happens happen. But that's never very satisfying advice for someone who's trying to build a career.

Fortune 500 CEO of a storage technology company

Actually, this CEO’s advice is very satisfying. His approach is much more straightforward than trying to plot an accurate road map for the next ten to forty years of your working life or accepting jobs that you hate solely because you think they will advance your career. His message is simple and elegant: concentrate on doing what you love-the rest will follow naturally.

And what other choice do you have? Follow Steve’s path, and things may go well for a while, but eventually you too will languish. It is simply not possible to sustain the level of energy, intensity, and enthusiasm required to persevere in today’s breakneck business climate if you don’t love what you’re doing.

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