What Makes Your Day?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In a workplace that seems to be forever pulling us one way or another (or asking even more of us), what’s the “ mojo” (so aptly described by Marshall Goldsmith) that keeps you moving forward? What gets you going every work day?  

While it’s probably not the challenge of dealing with employees who cringe at the idea of change—any change—that gets you motivated, it’s quite likely that there are activities you’re involved with that excite you. Building on these can help you thrive in your career.  If you can’t think of anything that motives you, now is the time to stop and take stock.  For the sake of your own career and well-being, it’s critical that you get more familiar with what brings you joy in your work. 

For blogger Penelope Trunk, it’s being interesting, or at least interested, that matters. For author Dan Pink’s character, Johnny Bunko (in his book of the same title), it’s the chance to leave an imprint—using your time to do something that matters. 

So what is it for you?  As a T&D professional, what do you do to make sure that your days are filled with what matters most to you?  For many in our field that I’ve talked to, it’s the chance to engage in work that is positively challenging. In other words, they pursue work that stretches them, deepens their skill, set and makes a difference. 


Watch for the forthcoming book, Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future, by Caitlin Williams and Annabelle Reitman from ASTD Press coming out in September 2013. You will find more ideas and insights on how to grow and thrive in your profession.

So, now you may be wondering to yourself: How do I do that? 

One excellent way is to take a really good look around you at how the workplace and workforce you serve is changing. Then ask yourself how your own work is evolving to match the learning needs of those you work with. For instance, consider the following:

  • A good percentage of your Gen X and Gen Y workers may be suffering from nomophobia (fear of being separated from their mobile devices like smart phones). As a result, they may be easily distracted and anxious if they’re not in constant touch with one another? How are you adapting your learning and presentation strategies to take this into account? 
  • Many of the workers whose performance you’re trying to improve are “working worried.” They are afraid for the security of their jobs as a consequence of the Great Recession. These workers are trying to stay under the radar, and they’re fearful of making mistakes. This makes them risk-averse and not the most engaged in learning new things. How are you reaching out to them? 
  • In addition to flipped learning, our workplaces could also likely benefit from flipped mentoring. With so many tech-savvy and motivated younger workers entering the workforce, there’s an opportunity for mentoring to go in all directions—with each generation having skills to offer to one another. Is your company’s mentoring program taking advantage of the skills and strengths of every generation of worker? 

These examples present ways of stretching yourself in positively challenging ways. Which ones energize you? 

About the Author
Caitlin Williams, PhD, is an expert in navigating the workplace with grit and grace and co-author of Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future (ASTD Press 2013). An atypical career development professional, through her consulting, speaking, and writing, she evangelizes the opportunities for experienced professionals to continue to pursue meaningful work that keeps their performance high, their anxiety low, and their lives moving in the direction that works for them. Witnessing the disheartening effects of the “working worried,” she offers these committed workers specific tools and strategies for flourishing in a always uncertain workplace. Whether experienced professionals are exploring new career paths or pursuing excellence in already chosen careers, she acts as their chief supporter and sounding board. Caitlin is also an organization’s key advisor, guiding leadership in identifying and leveraging employee strengths and critical skill sets and helping them build healthy, productive and innovative workplaces. In her work, Caitlin uses the leading-edge tools of personal branding, appreciative inquiry, personal story, and preferred futuring. These techniques powerfully shift her clients and audiences’ perspective from one that is limited to a history-focused and static view of themselves to one that leverages current strengths and focuses on future possibilities.
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