by Rose Miller
We take a trip to Cape Cod for my husband’s business conference each summer. It’s at a beautiful resort filled with beach, sun and sand. My friends come along because my husband is tied up at business meetings during the day.
One of the highlights at the conference is their annual lobster bake. The dining area overlooks the ocean and the menu consists of New England chowder, corn, mussels, potatoes, corn and the main event—lobster.
I love lobster. However, I know not everyone does. I find its one of those things that people either love or hate. I know this may sound peculiar but I found some of the conversations at the table about lobster parallel some of the conversations I hear related to professions and jobs. I’m calling it Lobster Lessons.
One person stated she didn’t like lobster because “it’s too much work.” It’s interesting how one person’s work is another person’s pleasure. There are so many careers in healthcare and human services, for example, that to one person seem nightmarish yet to others are expressions of their passion and enthusiasm to impact people’s lives.
Workers in construction labor in hot, dirty conditions yet they couldn’t see themselves behind a desk. Some people go into work excited to get their agendas implemented where another person contemplates retirement each day. People who enjoy lobster happily tackle the task of pulling it apart. They enjoy getting to the nooks and crannies to find sweet, tasty morsels of meat.
When you love your work, you develop focus, patience and understanding. My friend noticed that when my lobster arrived, I “zoned right in.” She giggled as she watched my full attention become directed exclusively towards my plate. I pride myself into being able to remove, fully intact, the entire claw with precision. It took many years of practice and practice makes perfect in any job we do.
Especially jobs we love where we are always finding innovative ways to get better results. We automatically utilize the correct amount of focus to perform optimally and we understand the length of time required to do an expert job. We understand what it takes to get a job done right. We look forward to the challenge.
If you want to get the most out of your lobster, you also need to acquire the knowledge of where all the meat is. If you rush through and toss what’s unfamiliar aside, you’ll probably miss out on some great parts.
Doing your best at work increases when you’re a constant learner. Are you pushing yourself to seek out new knowledge or are you satisfied with status quo and avoiding tasks you know little about. The later are the traits of individuals who lose out to others who take the initiative to seek out and explore tasks out of their comfort zone. Rather than throw away the upper body, lobster lovers know how to expertly seek out food from other more difficult sections rather than just go for the easier claws and tail.
And over time, you may decide there is a difference between knowing and wanting to spend time with your lobster. The conference hall had wait staff on hand to dissect your lobster for you at your table. My two friends lead some great organizations. They can’t (and probably shouldn’t) get to every nitty gritty detail on every situation. Professionals know how to leverage others to get tasks done. It’s not that they don’t know how to do it, they prioritize their time and exercise the abilities of others to accomplish a task. My friend’s lobster was plated for her—ready for her to dig in.
Hopefully, you have a job you enjoy as much as I love eating lobster. Give it the energy it deserves if you want to ever be recognized as an expert in your field. Being an expert requires focus, knowledge and patience. Get a team around you to fill in the blanks. You’ll benefit from discovering unfamiliar areas. You’ll be surprised how sweet it can be.
by Rose Miller