This interview with Mary Tess Rooney is the reminder that we all need that our joy and happiness matter at least as much as what other people expect of us. Mary Tess is the author of Heart Value, a book that helps us ensure we are making career and life decisions from the intersection of the value we offer the world that also lights us up.  

What Mary Tess describes as Heart Value is very close to what I call Great Work, which is why it was such an easy decision to invite her to the podcast. And I’m very glad I did! Mary Tess is no pie-in-the-sky Pollyanna. She urges us to acknowledge that it can be challenging to speak up and share our heart value with the world, and she encourages us to be strategic and honest about what’s possible right now and what might need some time to unfold. In both cases, she emphasizes that we are not rushing towards something better, but instead, we are building a habit of honoring our heart value. 

At any point, we can experience our lives in more than one way.

If we are in an unfulfilling job, and we focus on how unfulfilling it is, we live in a reality that is shaped by being bored, misunderstood, or “on the wrong track.” 

If we focus, instead, on what is possible because our job isn’t particularly demanding – in Mary Tess Rooney’s case, she shared that being in such a job provided the time and headspace to run a marathon—we can live in that reality instead. In both cases, it’s true that the job is unfulfilling, but in the second scenario, it doesn’t define your reality. It’s worth considering whether there is a chance to refocus and recreate your reality. 

Those of all called to Great Work are often so focused on helping others that it feels out of alignment or pushy to name our value clearly.

And yet, Mary Tess Rooney is absolutely right: if we name our value clearly and often, the world begins to line up behind us. People begin to refer the right clients to us, we find opportunities that move us closer, and we develop the expertise we need to get new roles, new jobs, and new responsibilities. 

But if we don’t clearly name who we are, who we help, and what we love to do, we are more likely to be overlooked. 

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.