How Doing the Dishes and Climbing Mt Everest Both Relate to Your Career Advancement

Do you ever wrestle with your inner drive of needing to achieve some end goal?

In the past, I had a frequent mental wrestling match between my driving “need to achieve” vs enjoying the process and having faith that success will come as it may. 

I heard an incredible podcast yesterday with Srikumar Rao, coach, speaker, author, and founder of The Rao Institute, that touched on this topic.

He provided two analogies of this mental wrestling match – one to doing the dishes and one to people who climb Mt. Everest.  

His first analogy went something like this…

When you do dishes, don’t do the dishes to get the dishes clean.  Do the dishes for the purposes of doing the dishes.

I was immediately confused.  He elaborated by talking about climbing Mt. Everest.

People say they want to climb Mt. Everest.  They spend months or years preparing.  Then they get to the top, spend 30 seconds taking a picture, and then climb back down hoping that they don’t die during the descent. 

Invest in being present in the process, invest in enjoying the process, in enjoying the preparation, in being present at the basecamp experience.  Invest in the process, not the outcome, and you’ll find more success than you ever imagined.

He then came back to the dishes comment.

If you do dishes to get the dishes clean, you aren’t living in the present moment and you miss the enjoyment of the dishes.  You’re shooting for an outcome and you’re training your mind to be outcome-focused.  Instead, feel the soap on your hands.  Feel the texture of the sponge.  Feel the temperature of the water.  Acknowledge the process and be present in the process. See where your mind goes and what happens.  Practice being present.

So how does this relate to your career or to finding a job?

If we’re constantly looking to the future and not satisfied until we reach some pre-determined outcome (could be a promotion, could be compensation-related, could be finding that dream job), we’ll miss the learnings and growth we could experience along the way.

For example, when you’re searching for a job and having networking calls, are you asking yourself what could you learn from the other person?  Are you looking for ways to grow personally?  Are you taking notes not just on what they are saying, but HOW they are interviewing you?  Are you learning from a company’s interview process so you can adopt best practices when you are then in a hiring manager position? 

If we invest in the process and invest in being present and finding growth through the process, we’ll reach our ultimate destination.  And that destination may be different from what we previously thought, but just we might be much happier, and more present, as a result.