Aligning “Should” and “Must”

This beautiful essay on “Should” versus “Must” re-inspires me every time I read it. It focuses on the dynamics of obligations versus calling.

And while I do agree that Should and Must are different, the subtle art of being an entrepreneur is channeling the Shoulds to achieve the Musts. Yes, I “should” sort out the complexities of a data model for information about clinical trials, for example, and yes, I “should” then get in the trenches and lead my team to build it. But these “shoulds” drive a “must.” I “must” create a platform that helps people be better informed about their choices, to be more engaged in their care, and to lead healthier lives.

In other words, when you take a path where you decide to draw the map, you can make “should” an access road to “must” rather than an either-or crossroad.

“Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.”

“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own.”

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