Know your dislikes, but do you know what you want to do?

It is very easy to know what I don’t like or don’t enjoy doing.  I don’t like mundane activities, processes that does not meet my standards of common sense, a manager who does not value add to my role and the list goes on and on.  It does not take any effort on my part to pin point what’s wrong and negative.  It does not take any effort to criticize the leaders in my organisation for their strategies or approach.  However, when the questions are rephrase as

  • “What do you like to do?”
  • “What solutions would you propose to solve a problem?”
  • “How would you do it differently if you had these 4 parameters and constraints to work within?”

What is your response?

When the tables are turned, and we are now in the position of having to come up with the solutions or answers, how would we handle the criticisms?

During any performance review or career discussion, one of the hardest topic of discussion is around “What does an employee want to do or enjoy doing or am passionate about?”  Most of the time, we know what we don’t want to do but very seldom do we know what we really want to do.  Without knowing the answer to what we really want to do will cause a number of issues such as:

  • Going in circles:  Moving from role to role hoping to find a role that you will enjoy doing.
  • Disappointments:   Disappointments are just around the corner because it is just easy to spot the negatives vs. the positives.  As you are unable to find what you like to do, expectations will take a hit and you will naturally feel disappointed.
  • Demotivation sets in:  Struggling to find an area that you enjoy or are passionate about will bring cause you to lose motivation to do the role that you are in.  One of the most common work plague is demotivation and it is contagious.  When one person is demotivated, everyone around will know it both from the words and actions.
  • Indifference:  At the end of the disappointment and demotivation journey, the attitude that will be born is Indifference.  It just does not matter.  It does not matter when I do a great job or not.  I will just do what I am paid to do.  Strive no more because what’s the point.

None of those attributes would be used to describe a satisfied and productive person.  If you find yourself in anyone of those category above, it may be time to take stock and uncover what it is that you want and enjoy doing.

Let’s start by asking yourself some foundational questions:

  • What are my values?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What is your life purpose?
  • What are my past achievements that I am proud of?
  • What type of role brings out the best in me?
  • What environment would bring out the best in me?
  • What drives or motivates me to get out of bed to achieve?

It might seem hard to even answer the first question but it is worth your while to do so.  It is hard to find alignment between what your values are and the role that you do if you don’t know either one of the answer to the equation.

I would encourage you to take the time to reflect and know for yourself especially alignment with your values and what you do as that’s one critical key in unlocking living out your potential.  This might be a hard task to take on your own, find a coach, a mentor, a friend, someone who is able to challenge you and keep you accountable.

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