Take a Pause: Define Your Why

The Challenge

Most of us begin our careers taking anything we can get. Whether it’s fear or urgency or competition, most people begin their careers taking the first option available.  While that’s all well and good, we often find that the initial feeling of happiness and accomplishment wanes and the spark of energy that we gained fizzles along with it.

As we grow in our careers, we learn about ourselves: we all have skills, passions, likes and dislikes, cultural preferences and personal perspectives that start to shape whether or not we actually like the work we do. And while we might even “like” certain aspects of our jobs,  if we don’t have a “WHY” for why we’re doing it, your happiness and feeling of fulfillment will likely be short-lived.

Paying attention to the elements of who we are and the WHY behind our careers is vital to maintaining happiness and balance in personal life and career.

So, WHY do you need to ask why, and how often should we ask WHY? With life comes changes, of many different kinds in many different stages of life.  Job changes, management changes, lay-offs, divestitures, age changes, preference changes… Life is inevitably a constant state of change. And you may find yourself needing a change, over and over again.  We recommend asking WHY often, and getting real with yourself BEFORE the next big change hits.

Pausing to ask WHY prompts us to reflect on our current state and whether or not our career is right for us, right now.

The Exercise

Use these 4 questions to help you define your WHY:

  • WHY do I stay in my current career?
  • WHY does this career align with what’s most important to me?
  • WHY don’t I do what I love?
  • WHY does my work energize me?

Use this exercise to get yourself considering whether or not your career fulfills you.  And, whether or not it might be a good time for a change.  Everyone will experience change more than once. Exploring your why and continuing to explore it throughout the changes in your life and your career is an essential step in building a successful career.

If you truly want to know the first step in transforming your career, DEFINE YOUR WHY.

The Resource

Every inspiration and practical component deserves a resource to back it all up. That extra piece that proves this is worth reading and making the change. We encourage you to check out Simon Sinek’s TedX talk on starting with your “WHY”.

“Start with why–how great leaders inspire action” | Simon Sinek (via YouTube)



The DRIVEN Career Map™ is a professional development program designed to enable and empower you in your journey to a meaningful career. Our certified coaches will provide tools and support to guide you through a comprehensive program that starts with you and ends with your roadmap for a balanced and fulfilling life.

After working with thousands of clients over the past twenty years, we’ve compiled a set of strategies and resources to enable you to define and pursue the career and life you want.

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