Marcus Buckingham says love, the most powerful of human emotions, has been systematically drained from our lives – our work, teams, and classrooms, and it’s time we brought love back in.

Does everyone who works for you spend at least 20% of their workday doing something that they love?

More importantly, perhaps: Do you?

According to work and leadership expert Marcus Buckingham, truly successful people don’t chase work-life balance. Instead, they find some nourishment in every aspect of their life, including work. Finding a job that gives us enough moments, every day, where we feel like we’re putting our skills to good use is the real key to doing what you love and loving what you do.

Guest: Marcus Buckingham, a researcher, thought leader, and New York Times Best-Selling Author. Marcus spent two decades studying excellence at Gallup and co-created the Strengths Finder tool. Today, Marcus is the Head of Research, People + Performance at ADP Research Institute. His new book is Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life.


My Key Takeaways:

  1. Pull the “red threads.” Marcus says we should think about our workday like it’s a piece of multicolored fabric. Many of those threads are neutral. Some might even be dark. But if there are enough red threads — moments of passion, uplift, and fulfillment — you’ll feel like you’re doing meaningful work.
  2. Craft can be its own reward. Whether you’re the top-rated housekeeper at a resort or the most in-demand surgeon in your state,  the happiest workers commit to being the best at what they do.
  3. “How was last week? What are you working on now and how can I help?” Marcus has found that leaders who spend 15 minutes every week having this conversation with key team members can help workers find their own “red threads” and improve their contributions to the organization.

Also Learn:

  1. Why you can’t learn about happiness and excellence by studying and inverting unhappiness and failure.
  2. What Marcus learned about studying leadership versus becoming a leader when he founded his own company.
  3. How recontextualizing work could help nurses, teachers. and other pros in demanding jobs build resiliency and battle burnout.
  4. The key drivers of engagement that lead to happiness and top performance at work.
  5. Why leaders need to appreciate and harness the uniqueness of team members rather than strive for uniformity.
  6. How establishing high minimum requirements for team members can inspire even higher levels of effort and customer service.
  7. Why Marcus wants to devote himself to improving education in his next professional act.

Complementary podcast: Author and CEO Denise Shull says that decoding our emotions is the key to improving our performance. Listen/read here.

Resources Featured In This Episode

Marcus Buckingham on LinkedIn

Books by Marcus Buckingham

Love + Work An educational collaboration between Marcus and the Harvard Business Review