What Does it Take to Win at Work?
People have asked me that question dozens of times after a keynote speech or radio talk show. Most likely, your team members have asked you the same or similar questions. They want to know what action is needed to build a successful life instead of being trapped in long-term failure. This is a great question. Unfortunately, since every person faces different challenges, there isn’t a 100-percent-specific answer that works for every person. A better approach is to guide your team in focusing on the real source of motivation by exploring their underlying motives. When you discover the motive behind why they want to win at work, you will be on track to help them shape a strategic approach to speed toward accomplishing goals and avoiding distractions that lead to failure.
Key Questions to Ask Your Team
- Do you want to win at work to deepen your resume to advance your career?
- Does success at work mean making more money to bring home to your family?
- Does career success give you personal meaning and fulfillment?
- Does winning bring you a sense of satisfaction by proving you are the best?
Greater professional success usually gives a person far greater options in their personal life because increased income brings the flexibility to solve problems and control schedules by delegation. Outsourcing to save time and money is a wise use of resources. Working harder to gain greater self-esteem, however, is a dangerous motivator because it takes major sacrifices of time and energy and can often become a black hole of busy activity leading to workaholism.
Career burnout comes from attempts to fill up deep emotional insecurities through aggressive professional activity. Burnout will not lead to professional success, and sadly, is incredibly common among people who have not seen the importance of mapping out a realistic career plan to win at work without losing at home.
Finding the Energy for Career Success
So how can your team stay motivated to achieve greater career success? Have them start by identifying their core values, which can be identified through mapping out their internal motives, since motives lead to motivation. Here are four key areas I use to inspire business professionals I have coached to stay focused to win at work while feeling greater energy and fulfillment in the process: Insight, Interests, Importance, and Identity.
There is a Scripture verse I was taught to pray every day: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NKJV). When you know you don’t have the answers, then asking for God’s direction is a wise use of time. Generate insight by asking God to reveal the gifts and natural abilities of each member of your team, regardless of how much they may feel like they are struggling. Everyone has talent and ability at something. It takes insight as a wise leader to see it, and then it takes courage to stay focused to light the fire of desire in their heart, especially when you or they may feel like giving up. Have your team members enlist people close to them, like a marriage partner, family member or trusted friend, to help identify their talents and abilities if they don’t already know them. Since these people already know so much about their loved ones personality, character, motivation, and inner-drives, they are more likely to speak truth when given the freedom to do so. Asking many questions to gain greater insight will protect against impulsive choices, and insure a greater likelihood of success. So don’t be afraid to ask too many questions, but do be afraid to stay silent on this important element.
Once your team know their gifts, talents, abilities, and skills, the next step is to see how those unique gifts could be transferred into something so incredibly interesting that they want to show up and learn more about it every day. There is an old saying that the curious are never bored, which is true. When your clients are inspired about pursuing something extremely interesting, they will lose all track of time because they are so engrossed by what is before them. Linking their interests with greater insight leads to the next part of the process to win at work.
Once teams are inspired to pursue the most interesting aspects of their jobs or career callings, the next element to stir up personal motivation is to help them discover what is most important. What is valuable to them? What has great meaning? What activities or organizations do they believe in strongly? Everyone believes in something, yet many of us have not taken time to explore and discover the core motives that fuel our desires to create positive change. Now that you have mapped out the key areas that motivate people you are ready for each member of your team to advance to the final stage.
When people figure out who they are and what they enjoy doing, they are on track to live out their purpose and have more fun in the process! Perhaps the huge success of many work-related reality TV shows (like American Idol) is because they reveal what many people secretly would like their daily work experience to be—a place that allows them to utilize their creative abilities in an environment that rewards big risk-taking to achieve greater results. It’s not hard to stay motivated when you know why you are going to work, and it’s not hard to stay in the race to win, either. In fact, it makes it easy to move from a fear of failure to moving forward with a new dedication to finish strong!
Dwight Bain, MA, is the Founder of the LifeWorks Group in Winter Park, Florida. He helps people rewrite their stories through strategic change and is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. Since 1984, Dwight has helped thousands of people across America as a Keynote Speaker, Certified Leadership Coach, Nationally Certified Counselor, and a Critical Incident Stress Management expert. He is a trusted media resource on managing major change and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and television stations, has been quoted in over 100 publications, and is the author of Destination Success: A Map for Living Out Your Dreams. See more at: www.dwightbain.com