Get Good At Work – Why do I work here?!
We’ve all had days like that at work. I had a lot more until I became my own boss and then I suddenly realised that the buck stopped with me!
I visit loads of different workplaces in my work. I might be in a school one day and then in the NHS and then a firm of solicitors. That is one of the reasons I love what I do. No day is the same. And in all the time I’ve spent in other peoples workplaces as a visiting speaker, I began to realise that most people spend their time at work just getting on with it and are often so busy that they rarely take time out to stop and think why they do what they do. ?It is a privilege to be someone who gets them to stop and think why they work there, why they keep coming back and how they can enjoy work more. “OK, well that’s all very nice Lee” but I know what some of you are thinking – they work for the money stupid!
Well, yes as Zig Ziglar said: “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale”
But actually, when you look at research into money and motivation at work, you’d be surprised. ??Money only motivates people for a very short time. A pay rise sometimes only motivates people for two weeks and then that’s it! ??Then we kind of forget it, especially if it goes straight into our bank account, and we then become more bothered about working hours and whose buying the milk this week! So if work isn’t all about money, what is it that keeps us there?
Well, it’s lots of things, but often when we really want to perform well and stay motivated in the day-to-day it boils down to knowing our “Why”. Simon Sinek wrote the book and did theTED Talk “Start with Why” a few years ago and he brought it back into mainstream thinking, but seriously that was nothing new, people have been talking about this for years and when I do a talk I often mention that motivational speakers like me only ever really talk about three things – “The Why” The How” and the “Keeping On Going”. There’s nothing new under the sun as they say. ?
We were designed to work, but we need to know why. In fact, work is good for us. Have you ever been off work ill for few days – the first day is a novelty but then after three days, you start to realise that daytime TV and not being able to go out of the house is not all its cracked up to be! Work helps us to get out of the house and it pushes us into new experiences, both good and not so good.
I found a story of a group who found their “why” very quickly!!
In Wyoming State Prison in 1911 they formed a baseball team, nothing remarkable about that, prisoners need occasional exercise. Except that this team was made up of men who were on death row. You see, in 1911 if you were sentenced to death, it would happen within a few months, nothing like the 10 or 20 year wait they have today. So the new warden Felix Alston who was a baseball obsessive decided to set up the Wyoming State Prison All-Star team. And this was the deal:
If the team won they were promised a stay of execution and if they lost, their execution date was to go ahead as normal!Chris Enss in her book, Playing for Time, tells the story of this bizarre set of games in the American West between 1911 and 1912.
Oh yes, that team was very motivated and as they say, they had found their “WHY”! In fact they won 39 games and only lost 6. They were almost invincible, over the 15 months. Not surprising really, they were playing for their lives, literally.
When we really want to perform well and stay motivated in the day-to-day it boils down to knowing our “WHY”. So stop today and think “WHY” do I go to work? WHY do I do what I do? Go on, its good for you! Stop and think WHY.