P is for Pleasurable Work

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People love to do pleasurable work. They may sometimes need to sweat and overcome challenges when doing it, but they also find it deeply satisfying.

Looking at your own life, what are the different kinds of work you do? On a scale 0 – 10, how would you rate each of these in terms of being pleasurable?

People can obviously learn from doing painful work. Sometimes it can also be a motivator for somebody to say: “I am going to do everything possible to find and do satisfying work.”

People are also prepared to do such work if they can see how it contributes to achieving a compelling goal. But doing crippling work over a long period can cause difficulties.

Kerry was an executive board member I worked with in a software company. She loved helping customers, but was growing increasingly disillusioned with her work.

Back-to-back internal meetings meant she spent most days in the office. She longed to return to acting as a trusted advisor to customers.

Kerry focused on how to do more work she found pleasurable and also provide great value to her employers. Spending more time with customers, she quickly brought in several large contracts. It also led to her getting two job offers from clients.

Loyal to her company, Kerry suggested that she craft a role working directly with clients. This meant giving up the executive role, but she would be using her strengths. It would also be profitable for the company.

Kerry is now happier and is delivering the goods. One person on the executive team said:

“Many people on the team admire what you have done. They would like to return to what they do best, rather than spend their days sitting in meetings.”

What are the kinds of work you find pleasurable? You may enjoy writing, gardening, event planning, leading superb teams, working with certain kinds of customers or whatever.

What do you find pleasurable about some of these kinds of work? You may enjoy following your passion, translating this into a clear purpose, feeling in charge of the project, seeing certain results or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific kinds of work you find pleasurable.

Describe the specific things that you find pleasurable about some of these kinds of work.

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Looking to the future, how can you do more of the work you find pleasurable?

“This is relatively easy to do in your personal life,” somebody may say. “But what about in your professional life? How can you make it happen?”

Kerry followed the principle outlined by Peter Drucker, the great management thinker. He is often quoted as saying:

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

Creative people often pursue certain steps to follow this rule. They build on their strengths, find sponsors – customers or employers – who will pay them and help those people to achieve success.

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How to take these steps? If you wish, you can ask yourself the following questions. You can also discover more via the following link.



What are my strengths? What are the specific activities in which I deliver As, rather than Bs or Cs? What is my successful style of working? What are the kinds of work I find most satisfying?


Who are the kinds of people – customers or employers – with whom I work best? What are the characteristics of these people? What are the challenges they face? What is their picture of success?


How can I use my strengths to help these people to succeed? How can I reach them in a way that fits my values system? How can I do superb work and help them to achieve success?

Let’s return to doing pleasurable work. Whether you do or don’t want to get paid, it can be useful to get into the habit of doing such work. This can bring benefits for both yourself and other people.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific kind of pleasurable work you would like to focus on doing in the future.

Describe the specific things you can do to pursue this kind of pleasurable work.

Describe the specific benefits – for both you and other people – of you doing this kind of pleasurable work.

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