What’s The Reason For What You Do?
What’s your purpose? That’s the question I always ask my classes.
For most of the last three years, I’ve volunteered my free time teaching critical business skills to adults in transition, or just generally unhappy in their careers.
My goal is to empower them with the expertise that puts THEM, not their EMPLOYER in control of their future. The term I use for this is called “Playing Offense” in your career.
Before starting a new class, I always ask them the critical question of their purpose. I want to understand their long term career plan so I can make sure my content ties back to their strategy.
Most People Do Not Have A Purpose
Unfortunately what I often find out from my question is rather than having a far reaching vision, most people are looking for a short cut to a pay raise, different company or worse (should they be out of work) their next paycheck.
It’s A Sad But Unfortunately Common State
It is really sad, and to a large degree pathetic, that most adults don’t have a purpose behind their career.
The problem starts at an early age when most people graduate from school and “jump” into a job without much thought to what their purpose is and how they are going to bring it to life in their new organization.
Instead, the current of daily life carries them from job to job, and company to company. Ultimately they “wash” up on the shore of a layoff, mid life crisis, or dead end position, totally miserable, unfulfilled and hating their working life.
Have A Purpose For What You Do
To be clear, I’m not talking about reevaluating your entire life to answer some higher calling (although that’s not a bad thing). Rather, I’m talking about having something that drives you on a daily basis, giving meaning and direction to your professional life.
How About Being The Top Performer?
If you’re having trouble identifying a purpose for your career, how about something simple like being the best? The top sales person, the manager who’s department has the highest productivity, or the person who is the best at solving difficult business problems?
All of these are great aspirations which bring meaning to your career.
It’s A Low Bar
Here’s the irony, because the vast majority of employees have no direction being a top performer only involves a few key attributes:
Adopt a Win/Lose Mentality
I know, I know, this is highly controversial, especially in today’s society in which HR departments are trying to herd everyone into some kind of homogeneous mass where everything is based on “fairness”.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that business at all levels is a “win/lose” contest. For example, only a few people attain the highest positions, get the best raises and get recognized as “high potential”.
To be one who receive such rewards, you MUST adopt a win/lose mentality and resolve yourself to be number one in whatever assignment you have, and this starts with ALWAYS delivering results.
Remember, it’s like the Navy Seals (Link) say: “It Pays To Be A Winner. Second place is the first loser.”
2. Exploit Your Unique Qualities That Will Make You Stand Out
What are your unique qualities and how can you use them to help you stand out? For example, I use my creativity around problem solving to look for high profile projects and business problems to get involved in.
Developing solutions to these complex and difficult problems helps me stand out and establish myself as number one among my peers.
Perhaps you’re a great “closer”. How can you use that to triple your sales in the next quarter? Are you a great organizer? Use that talent to build your division’s best performing team – allowing you to stand out as the top manager in the organization.
Still having difficulty identifying your unique strengths? I recommend Donald O. Clifton and Sally Byrne Woodbridge’s “Now Discover Your Strengths”.
This is the best business book I have encountered on finding the key attributes that can set you apart, and drive you to number one.
Any Purpose Is Better Than No Purpose
In an environment in which so many people “drift” through their careers, the dedication and commitment to being the best, number one is truly a noble pursuit.
More than just distinguishing yourself in your career, it’s an empowering mindset that puts YOU in control of your career.
This is what “Playing Offense” Is All About. Making sure that YOU, are in control of your future, allowing you to realize your true talent and potential.
Angelo Lombardo is a Fortune 500 executive focused on getting people and companies to develop an “offensive” mindset.
Join his list @ www.angelolombardo.com