The Spark of Interestingness

Stephanie and I have now interviewed a whole smorgasbord of women as potential profilees for our HBICs in Action series. We found these women by putting out a call asking for… Women who lead from where they are by knowing who they are.

We wanted to interview women whose journey’s weren’t necessarily complete or who have already scaled every professional and personal mountain. The point in gathering and sharing these stories was to paint pictures of women who are managing works in progress in the hope that they’re relatable to those of us that are also still climbing.

In the past months, we’ve learned from entrepreneurs, motivated professionals, moms and coaches who are leading from where they are by knowing who they are. And we’ve discovered a few nuggets that these women have in common. We’ve decided to pepper in our observations throughout the HBICs in Action series to switch it up for you once in awhile, and start a conversation about what it takes to really be an HBIC.

One thing that’s clear is our women find what they do incredibly interesting. That might feel obvious, but in the real world, it’s not actually that common. How many of the people you know out there are intellectually stimulated by what they do? How many of them are on fire for their day at work?

Natalie said, “Honestly, problems that are already solved are not that interesting. All of the unknown stuff can be pretty scary. I get excited about my work because I’m looking at new problems, I’m on the edge of thinking and helping people make their vision into a reality.”

Claire shared, “I work all the time, but I’m really excited about it. I help other folks who have a creative vision, but don’t have the tools or skill set to drive business. That’s the stuff that keeps me up at night. “

For Anna Marie, “These last four years I have been working on a vision for a social enterprise empowering indigenous women through market linkages. I know this vision may change but this has kept my activities and exploration focused and clear in the meantime.”

In Heather’s world, it’s also about curiosity and learning, “Find something, develop an expertise, be known for it, and be humble about it… keep a learning mindset all the time.” Many of the other women we interviewed mentioned a desire for mastery and growth.

We’re calling this facet of these women’s lives “interestingness.” Clearly these women are interesting in their own right, but the compelling part of who they are is that what they do has interestingness for them. The impact of their work’s interestingness is powerful:

  • Flow: If your work is interesting to you, it’s easier for you to get into flow - that almost mystical psychological state where you become so immersed in your work that you lose track of time.
  • Effort vs Enjoyment: But even if you don’t achieve flow, if you’re interested in your work, you’re more likely to enjoy the time spent working. You’ll be more comfortable spending hours in that space - physically, emotionally, and mentally - which is immeasurably more preferable to having a clock-in clock-out job.
  • Expertise: People who are compelled by the interestingness of their work are more likely to desire and achieve mastery and specialization, which can help you edge ahead at your company or with your company.
  • Magnetic: If you find your work interesting, you’re much more likely to share with and inspire others, which will amplify your impact.

What’s interesting about your work? What draws you in and makes your work compelling to you?

-- Kara Davidson, cofounder, wolf & heron