The Sweet Spot

Pamela SlimI just stumbled across a fantastic article by Pamela Slim on her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation, titled – The sweet spot of your work. She must be loving the attention and the traffic because Guy Kawasaki also sent her some link loving.

The sweet spot as Pamela describes it is:

…the intersection of three interlocking circles: the first is “what people will pay you to do” – marketable skills and abilities that you have developed over your working life. The second is “that which you have great passion for” – areas of interest, hobbies, ideas or causes that make your heart race. And the third, and most elusive, is “that which you are genetically encoded to do” – the things that you were brought on this earth to accomplish that no one else on the planet can do as well as you. Where these circles interlock is your “sweet spot” and place that you should spend your working life if you want to feel alive and full of joy.

That’s it. That is exactly what I am talking about. I’ve not read it put so succinctly with so few words before so it’s definitely worth replication.

We all know what we enjoy doing and strive to fill our lives with as much of it as we can handle. We know we need to earn income to survive in our society and it’s lovely when that aligns nicely with the things we enjoy. The last one is not always talked about as much – your genetic purpose, or as I’d like to simply call it – “your calling”. Your calling is a very spiritual element, if you let it be. Once one find their true calling that also satisfies the money monkey and your own passion monkey then well, you have bliss, or at least a very sweet spot.

As I wrote in a previous article – What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life – finding what you enjoy AND what pays you income is a matter of deciding to seek out the activities that provide the most intrinsic pleasure for you and not letting the pursuit of money only for money’s sake rule.

Pamela has further advice on finding your sweet spot in her article including discussion on who you really are, what people you should seek to surround yourself with (work with), ascertain the exact work you enjoy and taking risks. Go have a read, it’s good stuff.

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  • I don’t really think we were born with any sort of purpose — that to me is the great myth or illusion of life. I do think however that through freewill we have the ability to choose what we want our life to be instead of going through like trying to figure out what we should be, what that great purpose was for our existence.

    If someoen wants to be a pianist — go for it…if someone wants to be a professional golfer go for it — sure we all have our strengths at birth and weaknesses, but that is where the challenge is — to overcome your weaknesses and pursu your dream..even if you are not genetically strong in such an area!

    well that’s my 2cents.


  • Hi Yaro!

    Thanks so much for the nice plug.

    I wish I could take credit for the succinct description of “the sweet spot” but Jim Collins is really the one who describes it that way. I heard him speak about this at a Fast Company conference in 2000 and was totally blown away by the concept. I realize that not everyone will agree with the “genetically encoded” or “calling” part of the equation (as one reader has already commented).

    Jim’s example of “skill” vs. “genetic encoding” helped clarify it for me. He said that when he was in high school that he was pretty gifted in Math. He got really good grades and enjoyed the subject so he decided to major in Math in college. Then, he said, “I found myself in a room with those who were genetically encoded to do math. They would waltz into the classroom, and without studying spend 20 minutes on a 3-hour exam and ace it.” He realized that while he was skilled at math, it wasn’t his biggest strength. Teaching, on the other hand, obviously is where he excels. He is one of the best speakers I have ever heard, and his books and research are very thought-provoking and have been very successful.

    I am happy that you are encouraging your readers to explore where their sweet spot lies … the journey is half the fun!


  • Thanks for dropping by Pam, I appreciate your contribution. I’m sure Jim won’t mind me linking to your blog regarding his concepts.

    I’ve subscribed to your blog to see what you get up to.

  • This was a good piece, but was it better than most of the posts on Pam’s blog? I’m so envious at Pam for the link from Guy. But she deserves it. Escape From Cubicle Nation is one of my must-read blogs. Many of the posts there are up to this same standard.


  • Andrew M

    Hi Yaro

    Also heard this principle this described as “What you love, What you’re good at, What’s needed”.

    I think that was from Dave Pollard –

  • An even more succinct way of putting it Andrew! ­čÖé

  • Tim – this is the first time I’ve come across Pam’s blog and as per usual I read the latest content on the front page only (there’s a good point here about highlighting your best work from your archives so new visitors know what to look for – *takes off blog traffic king hat…err…crown*).

    I’ll have to delve further into her archives based on your recommendation.

  • Yaro, I am a first timer to your website and feel I have stumbled upon something great. This blog post is especially interesting as it touches upon a critical topic for all us humans in this modern society we all live in. The importance of finding that balance between making money but also doing somehting we love and get up excited to do every day. If you can find that match or “sweet spot” I think life can be really incredible. Look forward to reading your past and future posts.

  • Hi Andrew – welcome to my blog! If you enjoy articles like this check the self development category in the articles section (click the tab at the top).

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