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PASSION AT WORK
by Lawler Kang
Pearson/Prentice Hall © 2006, 240 pages, $24.99 (ISBN 0-13-185428-3).
How to Find Work You Love
All employees, managers and leaders need to find meaning in their work to get the most out of their skills and talents. To help them align their passions, proficiencies and priorities, business consultant Lawler Kang offers business-based exercises and a five-step process for discovering a better way to work and live.
Kang writes, “You create your destiny, ... you control the time and terms of your life, and you have an innate responsibility to yourself and the world to heed this call, and heed it with passion.” Passion is the key to Kang’s lessons because, he explains, working your passions is the most productive, least risky, and happiest way to get the most from each day.
When he was 14 years old, Kang suffered a neural aneurysm that left him disfigured and in a wheelchair. After more major health problems and three life-altering operations, he earned an MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, helped the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese firm grow from a $2 million to a $40 million operation in five years, and became a highly successful consultant.
The Five Ps
To help readers make their work more satisfying and grow in their journey through professional life, Kang presents a process made up of five Ps. This process, he writes, is intended to show readers the path toward the answers to the questions that fundamentally impact the details of their daily lives. These include what they do and why they are doing it. Each of the Ps he describes helps readers progress in their awareness of who they are, what they want from life, and how they can reach their goals. “Combined,” he writes, “they present a compelling framework to enable you to live happily in the time of your life.”
Here are the five Ps Kang describes and the questions that play a crucial part in finding them:
1. Passion. What is your mission?
2. Proficiencies. What can the whole and impassioned you be the best at?
3. Priorities. What is most important to you, where you are in life?
4. Plan. How do you bring yourself to market?
5. Prove. How do you fund your plan?
Kang explains that the first P, passion, helps us focus on discovering the driving forces behind our journey. Without it, he points out, life is frustrating and “counterintuitive.” When passion is found, our work and our relationships are transformed.
The second P, proficiencies, is the crossroads where our innate skills, values and experiences arrive to equip us with the “how” by which we actualize our mission and passions. Kang points out that combining the deliverables from these first two Ps can provide some valuable and novel insights that will illuminate the best options for our work.
Kang writes that the third P, priorities, helps us define the importance of specific aspects of our present and future lives. As our lives change, so do our priorities. To this point, Kang writes, “Intuitively, as your priorities change, so might the nature of your work need to change to accommodate these new pulls and demands on your LifeTime.” Understanding our priorities and being able to consciously and proactively reassess them as our lives evolve is a “powerful and pragmatic tool” to have at our disposal, he adds.
To help us quickly prioritize the most important things in our lives, Kang provides a matrix that shows us how to define our working life options and reduce them down to the ones that require our most immediate attention.
Where Are We Going?
The fourth P, plan, provides the road map that will explain where we are going, the milestones that will show us our progress, and the costs we should expect on the way. Kang writes that generating this plan lets us define the length and relative ruggedness of the path we choose for ourselves based on our “intrinsic openness to various sorts of risk — finances being a prime example.”
The final P, prove, tells us whether our plan has what it takes to succeed. “If people believe in what you are building enough to give you their money, the plan’s chances for success must be better than good,” Kang writes.
The rest of Passion at Work offers advice and inspiration for preparing for the journey that the earlier parts of the book set in motion. By detailing the pitfalls that can loom ahead, such as baggage, finances and lack of commitment, and offering the steps that can be taken to overcome them, Kang thoroughly clears the way to a satisfying career. ~
Why We Like This Book
Passion at Work overflows with pertinent case studies; inspirational quotes from corporate giants, modern media, and song lyrics; personal stories; and easy-to-understand charts, tools, templates and graphics. Kang describes the journey to a better life and career. With his own experiences and insights at the core of his message, Passion at Work resonates with a sincerity and mission of purpose that can breathe fresh life into any daily grind. ~