Finding Your Drive – Part 1

Motivational message.

In Talent Is Overrated, Geoff Colvin writes that a typical Olympic figure skater will fall over 20,000 times throughout their career as they prepare to compete.  I use this analogy as athletic training shares a great deal with Leadership Development including:

–          Both are long processes that will necessarily include failures along the way to learning

–          There must be a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation for anyone to commit and remain committed over the long-term

With this in mind, I want to take you through a process of finding your drive and connecting that to your development process.  We will start with a quick examination of your interests, move to explore current opportunities, and identify the rewards that are critical to your success.

First, let’s ask a few questions to examine your interests.  Answer the following questions and list three things about each job that interests or excites you about that job.

  1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. What is your dream job today?
  3. Is there an opportunity that you would like to pursue in your current organization?

Take a look at your answer for each question and more importantly that you have listed for each.  Do you see any patterns?  Look for common threads at different stages in your life and career?

I include this exercise as part of my Own Your Leadership Workshop for a group of coaches recently.  One of the coaches in the session shared that she wanted to be a flight attendant when she was younger.  She was struggling with making that connecting with her current role as a coach, so I challenged her to list what specific aspects of the flight attendant role she would enjoy the most.  Many of the things she shared related to making sure people were ‘taken care of’ during their trip.  The strong helping and nurturing aspect has an obvious link to her current role as a coach.  After further discussion, she also mentioned that she loved the idea of making the announcement over the PA system (she can recite it to this this day in French and English).  This uncovered a propensity for public speaking that she listed as her answer to her dream job.

The point of this exercise is to look past the actual job itself and explore the specific characteristics that interest you.  Understanding the “what’s in it for me” as it relates to your dream job, will uncover opportunities to express your passions in areas you may have thought were unrelated.

In future installments of Finding Your Drive, we will help you connect your passion with actual opportunities within your organization.

Until next time, check out for the simplest and most powerful development tool on the planet.

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