The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 24, 2011.

I spoke last week to a group that had about 50 or 60 members present. After the program, a number of them came over to talk to me. Most simply thanked me for coming, and said they enjoyed the program. Some had specific questions or comments, or stories they wanted to share. A few said things like, “You really gave me some new things to think about,” or “I got a lot of great ideas from you. I can’t wait to try them out.”

Those are the comments I always enjoy and appreciate the most. But then, just before I left, someone told me something I don’t recall ever hearing before. It was a simple observation, but one that I will always treasure. I hope it will always be true, and I hope it will always show.

With a smile on his face, he said, “It’s obvious that you really enjoy what you do.”

“Thank you,” I told him. “You’re right. I do.”

His comment brought a smile to my face, too, and I was still smiling as I drove home from the meeting. And I realized how lucky I am. I do enjoy what I do. And I’m glad it shows.

Whether I’m writing, speaking, or coaching, my intention – and my ultimate goal – is to help people see gifts and skills in themselves and others that they didn’t realize were there. Or that they didn’t value. Or that they weren’t using in a way that gave joy and satisfaction both to themselves and to others. Once they recognize these gifts, once the realization clicks, once they make that connection of what they’ve got and what they can do with it, that’s when their eyes light up. And that’s when my eyes light up. It’s the part that gives me the greatest satisfaction, and it’s when I most enjoy the work that I do.

And I enjoyed hearing, after the program last week, that it shows.

When is the last time – if ever – that someone said to you, “It’s obvious that you really enjoy what you’re doing?” Not necessarily in those exact words, but with that precise sentiment. When you were taking care of your newborn, perhaps, or putting together an event for your family, friends, or an organization to which you belong. While you were having a great day at work, or were having fun with some particular aspect of your job.

And if no one has ever said that to you, ask yourself where and when the places and times were that you could have said it to yourself. If you can’t think of any, then right now is probably a good time to figure out why. Or, even better, to do something about it.

What are some of the things that do give you joy and satisfaction? A sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose. The things that, when you finish doing them or when you take a step back to look at your work, make you say, “Wow. That’s good!” Or, “That felt great!” What are the things you do that put a smile on other people’s faces as well as your own?

Whatever they are, look for ways to put that same feeling, that same sense of joy and accomplishment, into other areas of your life. You may have to stretch a bit in order to get them into your job or the other activities that fill your day. But once you do, you’ll find that even during the difficult or challenging times, you’ll be energized and motivated. You’ll take pleasure in the journey as well as the destination. And you’ll find, more and more, that you really enjoy what you do. And it shows.

© Betty Liedtke, 2011