What Drives You?
One of the problems I had early in my life is a complete lack of focus in my career. I jumped from one job to the next with no plan. After taking a communication course, I realized something was missing. I did not have a clear picture of what I valued most in my career.
Most people drift through their careers never taking the time to declare what matters most. So when a new opportunity comes up they jump on it thinking the grass is greener. More times than not, it isn’t, and they are left disillusioned. This was my pattern for almost a decade. When I defined my career core values things changed. I knew the work that was best for me. It became a guide that allowed me to focus on what I wanted in my career.
Once you define your career core values you will see opportunities you missed in the past. You will pursue work that aligns with your passion and ambition. This type of work will allow you to be more successful because you can’t fake passion forever. When you are doing work you love you will get better at it because it matters. You can start right where you are and define your career core values and then work on living out those values every day in your work.
In order to discover your career core values it is important to ask yourself “The 5 Questions That Will Determine What Drives You.”
- What matters most in my career?
When I interview clients on this question I hear things like providing for my family and getting paid. This is critically important for all of us supporting a family, but you want to find work that you enjoy to the point that you would do it for free. Think of what brings you great satisfaction in your work. Examples include: making a difference, success, delivering excellence, competence, winning, serving others, solving problems, growth and teaching.
- What are the greatest memories of your career?
This question may be difficult for you if you don’t have years of experience, but think over your entire life. You will find that there are certain situations where you thrive. Understanding where you thrive and why, will provide some clarity about your values.
- What energizes you?
Think about the specifics of situations that give you energy. Remember who you were with and why the experiences are important to you.
- What words describe you at your best?
The more detailed description, the better. Language matters, so clearly paint the picture of what specifically you are thinking and feeling when you are at your best.
- What would cause you to leave your current job?
These would be your anti-values. The opposite of the anti-values will be examples of your career core values. For example if someone asking you to be dishonest would cause you to leave your job, then integrity might be a career core value.
After you answer these questions, select the top 5 words or phrases that describe what matters most to you in your career. These are your career core values. These career core values should be listed in priority order. When you read the list you should get excited about what they mean for your career. They should inspire you to improve the quality and impact of your work. They should serve as a guide for the rest of your career. Filter every promotion, opportunity and challenge through these values. You will find new levels of success as you align your work with what drives you.
Questions: What is your top career core value? Why is it important to share your values with your team?