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Chase the love, not the fruit

A few nights ago my dad and I watched an interview* with the playwright of the new movie, In the Heights, talking about her success. A simple but pivotal element of Native Genius jumped out of the conversation.  

Quiara Alegría Hudes co-wrote the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights with Lin-Manuel Miranda before either was a movie.

Soon after In the Heights made it to Broadway, Hudes was standing in the theatre and someone asked her, “Now that it's a Broadway hit, are you living the dream?”

She said no. 

She said that the path to make the thing was the dream—writing it and being in tech and doing all the work was the dream. Finally making it to Broadway wasn’t the dream. 

So often we get the fruits of our labor mixed up with the labor itself. When people tell me they want to figure out the work they love, they often get distracted by the noise of the fruits. This kind of distraction drowns out their ability to figure out their thing or their next move because they’re looking outside at the fruits, not inside at the engine of their innate intelligence. 

Rather than paying attention to exactly how the engine of their intelligence works, and what the engine is doing automatically when they’re loving the activity, they talk about their work like this...

  • My favorite part was when the client had the aha moment
  • My favorite part was when the product team implemented our recommendations
  • My favorite part was when the CEO said I did a good job

Fruit. Fruit. Fruit. Every one of them. None of these things will illuminate how you’re wired to work. 

What will help you understand your Native Genius is what you love actually doing—the labor you love, instead of the fruits. In this same interview, Lin-Manuel Miranda advised to devote yourself to the love of the work because you can’t control the results. So if we look again at what people said they loved doing, here’s what we need to know…

  • When you were coaching that client before they had the aha moment, would you have loved doing it even if they didn’t have the aha moment? 
  • When you were presenting your recommendations to the product team, would you have loved doing it even if the product team didn’t implement your recommendations? 
  • When you were doing the thing the CEO praised you for, would you have loved doing it even if you didn’t get the kudos? 

When you can answer a hearty YES to these questions, you’re on a sure path. Of course, we all love the fruit. I love it too. But the fruit of your labor is exactly that, just the reward. Finding your Native Genius helps you find the labor you love. Then fruits will follow and your days will be juicy. 

Chase the love, not the fruit.

*Interview from In the Heights Virtual Book Launch with Lin-Manuel Miranda & Guests, June 15, 2021, presented virtually by Lark and Owl Independent Bookstore in Georgetown, Texas


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