Michael Bungay Stanier on Do More Great Work, Part 3

In the book, Do More Great Work.: Stop the Busywork, and Start the Work that Matters, Michael Bungay Stanier shares his inspiration and techniques to help us do more work that matters.

These are some of my favorite takeaways from reading the book.

Map 2: What’s Great?

While past performance is no indicator of future results for many investments, that is not true regarding Great Work. Past peak moments of engagement and meaning are an excellent indicator of future Great Work that we can do.

A peak moment is when we can see and feel ourselves doing something more than we typically do. On those occasions, we step beyond where we usually stay and do something new or try something different. As a result, we also made an impact.

Acknowledging our past peak moments can help us clarify our definition of success. Michael suggests the following tactics for completing the mapping of this exercise:

  1. Think back and remember three or four peak moments in our working life.
  2. Add one or two peak moments outside our work life.
  3. Give each one of the peak moments a title and write them down.
  4. Write a sentence about what happened during those peak moments.
  5. Review the peak-moment stories and get insights from the map.
    1. As we remember those peak moments, what did they feel like for us?
    1. Take our list of themes and discuss it with someone who knows us well.
    1. Retrace the steps that got us there to those peak moments of Great Work.

Here are some Great Work wisdom nuggets from Penelope Trunk about taking a leap of faith.

“Ultimately, you are left with you. So really, doing Great Work is about knowing who you are and what you want. And here’s the crux of the matter: We can never know that for sure. You’ll never know everything about who you are, and you’ll never be able to completely describe what you want.”

“But we can’t wait forever. So we have to guess and take the plunge. Stepping forward to do more Great Work is in fact about a leap of faith that we take because the alternatives are so disappointing.”