What are you really trying to do with your work today?

An answer probably popped to mind immediately, and it was likely the one that made you feel the most purposeful or on-target. However, ignore that one for a moment.

What are you really, really trying to do with your work today?

Many people don’t think beyond the first, instinctual response, and as a result, they might accomplish their objective but still feel like the work is hollow. They get a lot done but they have a difficult time seeing how it all fits together. There is no clear through-line driving their work.

In my podcast interview this week with Jeff Goins, we discussed how some people say they are doing one thing, but are really doing another. (For example, “I’m helping people understand how to XYZ”, when actually they are simply trying to build a platform, get promoted, or get a raise.) The personal benefits that you desire from your work are likely to result from delivering on the promises you make to your stakeholders, but when those stakeholders begin to sense that you are really in it for yourself, you’ll get neither results nor benefits. You have to earn trust every single day. If you lose it in small ways in one area, you’ll lose it in others as well.

Take just five minutes today to consider what is really driving your work today. Consider whether your attempts to improve the lives of your stakeholders are being overshadowed by your attempts at personal gain. If you lead others, consider where you are throwing them under the bus in small ways in order to make yourself look better. Consider where you are (maybe unknowingly) using others in order to grow your own status.

Most of all, consider whether you are doing work today that you’ll be proud of in ten years.

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