How do you know if you are good at what you are doing?
Originally published on Medium on October 19, 2019.
What am I doing?
Do I know this at all?
Is this something for me?
The questions you might hear in your head from time to time. How do you know that you are good at what you are doing? How do you know you do OK?
I am not willing to get into if this is the right place for you. The story is about doing it right.
Let’s start with the reason. Why you are doing that.
I’ll start with myself. So I am:
- Waking up each day to have a great day. The day might be filled with ups and downs, but at the end I can usually say that was a good one.
- Working with companies helping them to set-up international partnerships on the product sales and growth (so scaling), R&D, and investment. There are companies in the portfolio which have grown by 10x in a year, and the ones which have developed from just a vision to a product. So I should be doing it OK, or us in this case.
- Working on education content and teaching bachelor students for some years. Receiving a letter from a student stating something as:
“So Aivar, I actually tried what you advised on a lecture 2 months ago, added some my ideas, and it worked well with my new venture. Come over and see it yourself!”
can really make a day.
- Training people (teams, company owners, founders, specialists, etc.) on creativity, internationalization, effective marketing tools and strategies, and if someone has his (or her) whoala moment in the middle of the session, adds a portion of inspiration to close it with a smile.
- Taking part in a digital marketing content creation, and if the story you created inspires participants in the process of creation and makes them proud of the result, you might actually have done a good thing.
I won’t get into personal life or other examples. So do I always think I am good at what I’m doing? Of course not!
But if you end up at some point with the same thought
Am I doing OK?
Just think this way: Why I am doing this? Why did I start that at all? Why I am still doing this?
Was it to:
- make money
- create impact
- inspire people
- help people
- prove something?
So if it works, if you achieve what you wanted to, without a harm to anyone, you are doing OK.
Claus Otto Scharmer of MIT and Tsinghua University, and a founder of the Presencing Institute, in his book U Theory asks a question: “How does a scientist know the knowledge is correct?” He asked this question to Edgar Schein, now former MIT professor, and he said: “It is the moment when my knowledge helps practitioners of the industry. Then I know that I know.”
If you’ve watched Moneyball movie, you might remember Brad Pitt’s starred Billy Beane pointing his finger up to… nothing and saying to his team after another lost game: “That’s what losers get”
Failures do happen in the Moneyball story as well, until someone figures out the magic sauce of winning. But that’s another story.
Wish you to know that you know, and to know that you do well.