The most significant comment Terry made to me went something like this: He said, Jeff, you've reached the stage in life where you no longer have to prove what you can do. From here on out, there are many things that you can do -- more than you'll ever finish. From here on out, the question is rather what you should do.
This was a revelation to me, though I have been pushing up against this question for a long time. As we talked I started to feel a freedom. Just because I am capable of something, that doesn't mean I should do it -- even if it is something that needs to be done.
Now, according to Terry, my work is to begin to figure out what my "unique contribution" is. The exact means toward this goal is to develop a statement that defines my role, my passion, my function, in such a way that I can use the statement as a tool to help me decide whether to take on a new project or a new assignment.
This certainly doesn't mean that if I'm not passionate about taking out the garbage, someone else will have to do it. Some things you just do because they're your responsibility and you love the people you live and/or work with. So I will continue to take out the garbage and a thousand other things. But when it comes to the big stuff, I'm excited to have a filter that helps me decide where to put my effort.
I'll keep you posted.