Have you ever thought of what truly drives your decisions? Your life…What drives you to get out of bed and start your day. Most of us do things as though we were set on an auto mode..sometimes simply because there is a job that pays.. Sometimes to attend a 3 or 4 year course as your parents or friends guarantee that it will be a ticket to all material success.
Does this resonate with the way you are living right now?
My key areas of competency after MBA were research, market intelligence and strategy.. Wherein I would help companies map the markets, products and competitors and build robust strategies to be relevant to our customers and markets.
However, towards the end of my nearly 10 years job with a US retailer by late 2017, I was pushed to a data analytics team due to structural changes that I just didn’t enjoy being part of. I realised I was working because I wanted to make money to pay my bills, pay for my daughter’s fees and day care and run a house. The truth was I was surely not fulfilling my calling, and was hardly motivated. Every day, I used to dread opening my work emails to look at the data extraction and analysis requests, use python or R (which I had been trained only for few months and was sucking at it) and visualize the data on a visualization tool called DOMO that was hardly intuitive…
Playing all day with numbers didn’t excite me at all and I realized that in that team I was to expected to continuously perform by developing on my opportunity areas rather than work through my strengths (that were strategy, market intelligence and consulting).
As I look back there were 2 things that I failed to do – firstly, to take a hard look at what were my unconscious needs driving my decision of dragging myself and staying in the company and secondly, what if I could ask myself some creative questions to pull out the best in me and for me professionally.
So sharing my learning from there, let me tell you what the common drivers for most of our decisions are –
- Ambition – Need for success in whatever way you perceive success
- Competition – An inability to share success with others
- (Need for) control – Could be because you once trusted someone who proved untrustworthy and unconsciously decided to take control for yourself
- Fear of failure – Now that’s a huge one because you failed once, or your parents were unforgiving of failure
- (Need for) harmony and approval – Making decisions based on a fear of conflict, disapproval, and the desire to keep things harmonious
- Perfectionism – During these times of shiny perfect pictures on Instagram, many of us have a need to get everything perfect, not realizing that this need is optional behaviour rather than a factor of personality or a life requirement
- Jealousy – It might go back to sibling rivalry or a recent experience where you hated someone else to do well or be rewarded
- (Need to) prove oneself – Need to show someone your worth
- (Need for) security – Financial security, job security, the need for things to be certain and sure
- (Need for) variety and stimulation – Constantly taking risks and changing your life around in order to avoid low frustration tolerance
So looking at the needs above… did you realise what’s been driving you and the decisions you have made in life. For me it truly was the need for financial security. The need for the salary to come in every 1st of the month.
Once you have clearly identified the drivers please question and see if they are relevant to your life today… If they aren’t, you can develop alternative ways to approaching decisions and goals and open your perspectives by asking 6 powerful questions listed below –
- If you couldn’t fail, how else might you think about this situation?
- If money wasn’t as issue, what choices would you have?
- If security wasn’t a requirement, what else could you do?
- If you weren’t competitive, how many different options can you see in this situation?
- If you didn’t need approval, what could you do differently?
- What could you discover from your colleagues’ success instead of being jealous of them?
You will be amazed how you have driven yourself and limited your options in the past as a result of your unconscious automatic thoughts and drives. If you move from your unconscious ways towards making conscious decisions that would be the most liberating move.
For me it indeed was liberating when I answered the question – If security wasn’t a requirement what else would I do…and that question helped me quit my job, go on a self-discovery for a year. And helped me identify my unique finger print and what my true calling was to help people discover their true potentials…to help them realize that dimming their light so that people don’t feel insecure around them would not be the way they can play any longer… and there came the existence of Coach for Excellence, when I set that intention to the universe.
As said by Kristin Armstrong – We either live with intention or exist by default
Start living life with intention and make conscious decisions thereby letting your best version come alive. Remember knowing this will not be enough until you take actions and for creative conversations on that you have your coach for possibilities always – Parul Jha