You may have recently found yourself saying phrases like “I have to go to this team meeting” or “I have to take the kids to practice”. We act like we don’t have a choice, as if we are imprisoned to do the things we don’t want to do. In reality, most of us DO have a choice. We have the freedom to choose our actions, our profession, our financial needs, and the path of our life.

When it comes to your employees, they don’t have to show up to work, but instead, they choose to do so. Thus, there is one question that all leaders must answer. “Why?” Underneath it all, there is a deep-rooted “why” for every decision that people make. As a leader, understanding each employee’s “why” will enable you to create a meaningful career path for them, empower them during times of burnout, and help them stay engaged. In addition to knowing each of your employees’ “why”, you must also know your own. Here’s how you do that:

How to Find Your “Why”

Get a pen and paper so you can answer the question“What is your why?” Why do you go to work each day? Why do you choose this profession, instead of something else? Why do you choose the role you are in, as opposed to others?

Go beyond answers like “I need to make money”. You could be a janitor, cashier, stockbroker, or therapist. Why did you choose this path?

Most of your answers will fall into one of two categories. The first category is similar to Maslow’s lowest hierarchy of needs which includes food, water, and shelter. Your answer might be close to “I’d like to be able to pay my mortgage” or “I want to send my kids to college.”

The second category relates to a bigger purpose. It reflects your desire to make a difference and have meaning behind your choice. These answers are more connected to your overall purpose, and your sense of contribution, and is the most important aspect of your “why”. However, both categories are important to acknowledge and respect. An individual who only cares about money will live a hollow life, while an individual who is only in the clouds misses out on the real fight on the ground.

Having a deep understanding of your career purpose is equally as possible as meeting and exceeding financial goals. Today’s article is about understanding that you deserve to fulfill both of your needs. Below are some prompting questions to help you uncover your deeper purpose in your career

  • What first compelled you to enter this industry?
  • At what point in your career were you most challenged?
  • What circumstances push you to accomplish more and grow?
  • What inspires you most?
  • What do people compliment you on professionally?
  • What are you chasing and why?
  • Given your talents and passions, how could you use those to serve your current organization?
  • When you retire, what do you want to be remembered for?

The When

Most of us are entrenched in the day-to-day routine of work, family, and life and forget to think about our “why”. We operate on auto-pilot, knowing what is expected and performing to that expectation. Think about the last time you drove somewhere. Do you remember what you thought about or do you just remember ending up at your destination? Start paying attention to moments you are on autopilot.

As a leader, when you know the “why” of your team members, you can connect that “why” to their daily responsibilities. Every job has mundane tasks, but a strong “why” is still connected to even the most tedious of activities.

“I have to go to this team meeting” becomes “I get to go to this team meeting because I have team members dedicated to learning and living up to their fullest potential.”

“I have to take the kids to practice” becomes  “I get to take the kids to practice because I am fortunate to have a family and resources to help them live a full and varied life.”

When someone’s “why” is strong enough, there is no limit to what a person can achieve. Find out your “why” today!

About Top Talent

With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.

– Michael Monson
President and CEO
Top Talent LLC