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  • Writer's pictureSophia Chin

The Secret to Doing Great Work

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Photo credit: Botticelli, Sandro. The Birth of Venus. 1486. Uffizi, Florence. Web.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs

I first came across Steve Jobs’ commencement speech video in 2010. I just left Aquent to start my own company (read about my journey here). I was starting from zero, I didn’t even have a name for the company. Without a big corporate brand behind me, I felt lost at sea, disoriented. Steve Jobs’ rousing speech gave me a direction: “Love what you do.” That gave me the burst of hope to get off the starting blocks.

The early days were tough. Being a first-time entrepreneur, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. There was so much uncertainty, I feared to make decisions, but inaction was not an option. Nothing moved unless I nudged it. So, I acted despite the uncertainty. I made a lot of mistakes, and mistakes cost money. Steve Jobs message no longer brought hope, but bitterness. I was promised heaven, but instead was let to fall. I felt alone in the dark.

Steve Jobs message no longer brought hope, but bitterness. I was promised heaven, but instead was let to fall. I felt alone in the dark.

However, in the darkest moment, Steve Jobs didn’t desert me. In the stillness, his voice got stronger: “Love what you do”. And inspiration would flood me again. I must carry on.

I continued experimenting, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. I read voraciously. I attended training and workshops. I locked myself up for 10 days in the cool hills of Bogor in search of clarity. I sought out experts to help with our marketing, business strategy, etc.

Slowly, I started to discover what was truly useful and effective, and thus valuable. We started seeing signs of success. It hit me one day: I was doing great work, and I was helping others, my team and clients, do great work too. After 7 years, Personna has transformed and we’re on a mission to help more people do great work.

My journey towards great work has taken 7 years, and it falls into 3 distinct stages:

Stage 1: Leading myself through positive change

Role: Personal leader

Sign of success: Money

I allowed my inner wisdom to rise to the surface and guide me with its intuitive principles. I wanted to create something of value, a heady combination of beauty and effectiveness. I learnt what worked and what didn’t base on my own experimentation. The most rewarding thing for me is not so much the money taken at its face value, but the sense of accomplishment from creating something valuable.

Stage 2: Leading my team through positive change

Role: People leader

Sign of success: Influence

As I’ve discovered how to do great work myself, I wanted to share the secrets with others so that they could do great work as well. I learnt, again through practical real-life experimentation, that not everyone is ready to allow their inner wisdom to guide them. But for those brave souls who chose to embrace their inner warriors, they transformed. The most rewarding thing for me is seeing others experience their own sense of accomplishment from creating something valuable.

Stage 3: Leading my community through positive change

Role: Community leader

Sign of success: Meaning

As I’ve discovered how to help others do great work, I started working with clients and guided them through their amazing transformations. Here, my learning journey continues. I’ve only scratched the surface. The most rewarding thing for me is to see a world where people derive meaning and joy from their work.

The future of work is coming, and it’s going to be wonderful, if more of us will embrace our inner greatness and lead through positive change. Everyone’s contribution is necessary, no matter how small. We can make a huge difference to our world by making small and simple changes in how we operate. It’s worth it, believe me.

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PERSONNA is a leadership development company focused on the people side of transformation. We hold a simple belief that everyone is an extraordinary and powerful force for positive change. When you make work personal, naturally you become a better leader.

We’re here to help people become better leaders, build highly-effective teams, and create a culture of trust & collaboration in their organisations. We provide leadership branding, leadership coaching and group experiences. If you are curious to learn more drop us an email to

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