I recently listened to an interview with Daniel Pink, author of several best sellers such as Drive and To Sell is Human. He spoke about the three biggest drivers of motivation for humans. These are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. He hit the nail on the head with those three factors for me.
When I look back at the months leading up to quitting my corporate job, it was these three factors that I was craving for.
Autonomy: I craved having the freedom and ability to self-direct myself. Not that I could not do it in that setting, but I had to do it within the boundaries set forth.
How can we feel autonomous in a setting where we work for someone else?
Pink asks us to indulge in job crafting. Job crafting is a concept taught by Amy Wrzesniewski and I will be writing a detailed post about it shortly. The gist of it is to redesign your job by shifting your boundaries around your tasks and relationships at work.
Mastery: We have an innate drive to do better and get better at things. I had the craving to feel like I was mastering something.
How can we achieve mastery at work?
Pink advocates conducting a pre-mortem and post mortem on oneself. For a set period, identify what you want to accomplish, what you want to learn and possible roadblocks. At the end of the period, see how close or far you are from what you defined in the pre-mortem phase.
Purpose: This was huge for me. Pink defines purpose as Purpose + purpose. Purpose is that feeling of making a difference, doing something bigger than myself. purpose is that feeling of making a contribution – does what I do matter to anyone?
How can we achieve Purpose in our work?
Pink recommends turning the conversation in our heads from a How conversation to a Why conversation. Most often, on a daily basis we tend to get caught in the How phase. How to get this done is a constant chatter in our heads. In addition, focus on the Why. Why am I trying to get this done and dig deeper beyond the superficial answers that surface.
As you think through your career, what do you crave for? Is it all three of these elements?
Does your career offer one or more of all these elements?
If so, which ones and in what form are they present?
If not, which ones are missing and in what form would you like it to be present?