Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Create the Success You Want
Author: Katie C. Kelley
Pub Date: March 2016
Print Edition: $16.95
Print ISBN: 9780814436745
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436752
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Motivation: Clarifying What
Really Matters to You
Eric began his career as a junior client coordinator at a premier
Southern California entertainment agency. Over the years,
his natural salesmanship, ease around celebrities, and uncanny
ability to close lucrative deals for his clients had propelled him to
the higher echelons of the talent business. When a rumor about
impending layoffs began drifting through the office, Eric felt
confident that the agency would not only keep him on board but
even promote him to Senior Vice-President. So why was he lying
awake at night, his heart beating with anxiety?
For the first time in his career, Eric had begun thinking long
and hard about his future. The constant travel, fifteen-hour days,
and high-pressure negotiating had won him a certain amount of
fame and fortune, but looking ahead to more of the same made
him feel like a hamster on a treadmill. Despite a hefty bank account,
he felt bankrupt in terms of personal fulfillment. Fifteen
years earlier, he had dreamed of finding a life companion, building
a great home life, and discovering pleasures beyond the
fast-spinning world of work, work, and more work. When and
how had his work and personal life gone off track?
Eric’s situation is not uncommon. At some point, perhaps at
many points, during our careers, we wonder, “Is this all there is?
Am I really happy? How did I get so far away from the future I
had dreamed about when I got out of school?” If you’re like Eric,
you must do some deep and honest soul-searching. This chapter
will help you gain clarity about what motivates you—what really
matters to you in both your work and personal lives. You’ll learn
that one size does not fit all and that real satisfaction comes from
finding your own unique sweet spot, the best possible combination
of deeply satisfying work and a rich personal life. Remember
that, as we stressed in the Introduction, a career and a life are a
journey, not a destination. As time passes and you grow and
change, your “true north” will evolve. The trick is to do so consciously
Understanding Your Basic Motivations
You can begin by thinking of yourself as a leader in charge of
your own destiny. All leaders play many roles both inside and
outside their offices. Like so many of the women I coach, Suzanne
serves in multiple roles as a “Do-It-All Mom and Junior
Executive”: chauffeur, gourmet cook, wife, mother, head fundraiser
at her daughter’s Montessori school, and marketing man-
ager for a sleek start-up firm. She feels as if she’s living in a
whirlwind. And she is one unhappy woman. Eric knows exactly
how she feels, although in his case he wishes he could serve in
more rather than fewer roles. Both of them have achieved some
measure of success, but they have lost sight of the most important
role anyone can play: their true selves. How can they recapture
their unique, innermost desires, drives, and ambitions? If your
race to success has sidelined your true self, you will never find
your true calling and your most fulfilling personal life.
Expectations shape us in many ways, but we need to discover
and heed our own expectations for ourselves and not just struggle
to fulfill those of others: friends, family, teachers, coaches, peers,
and colleagues. When you more clearly understand yourself, you
can begin making decisions that will move you closer to a richer
and more rewarding life. Few people I have met know more
about doing that than one of my most cherished mentors, Cindy
When I first met Cindy I had recently relocated to Portland,
Oregon, from Manhattan and had just launched my coaching
business. I knew very few people in town and was feeling very
isolated in this far corner of the country. Cindy greeted me with
a huge smile and folded me under her incredibly strong wings.
As I got to know her, I came to appreciate her basic, or core, motivation:
to keep people from feeling alone.
Cindy, CEO and founder of The Link for Women, which
provides events and programs that assist women in reaching their
full potential, has helped countless people, myself included, to
understand and apply our underlying drive in our personal and
professional lives. To help us do that, she uses Simon Sinek’s
Golden Circle, a simple diagram that looks like a target with
three circles inside (Why, How, What) that helps people discover
what really makes them tick. Sinek’s Golden Circle almost always
transcends a mere job description because it goes beyond
what we do and how we do it to why we do it.1 Like Sinek, I believe
it’s important that we start with the Why.
Understanding and naming my Why took more time than I’d
like to admit. As I described in the Introduction, I spent the first
stage of my career gaining credentials as a psychotherapist but as
I practiced my profession I began feeling more and more empty
inside. I came to realize that while I really did want to help people
lead happier, healthier lives, I was not gaining fulfillment
from trying to do that as a psychotherapist. When I stopped and
forced myself to reexamine my life and work, I realized that I
could remain true to my Why even if I radically altered the What
and How of my career.
• My Why: To alleviate pain and inspire action.
• My What: I work to develop the next generation of business
• My How: I am a teacher and coach; I make use of broadcast
and social media; and I have written this book to share my
message with a wider audience.
Sinek’s Golden Circle helped me to understand that I was not
getting enough satisfaction from working as a therapist because I
was only fulfilling half of my Why. Yes, I was helping my patients
alleviate their pain, but I felt deeply frustrated with the fact that
traditional psychotherapy felt like such a passive way to help people.
Passivity was not in my nature. I wanted to lead, rather than
follow, my patients to a better future. During talk therapy, the
patient guides the process and direction of the work. This completely
suppressed my drive to move people toward action. Now,
as a business coach, I fulfill my basic Why, I just do it in a much
more action-oriented way.
Eric thought of himself as a talent manager, but that only described
what he did for a living. Never having thought deeply
about why he did that work, he couldn’t put his finger on what
was keeping him awake at night. Deep inside, below his conscious
awareness, he was feeling anxious about the lack of meaning
of his life, not about keeping his job. Nor had Do-It-All
Suzanne stopped to think about why she felt so unhappy as she
struggled to maintain the whirlwind.
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