Finding your WHY in your career

What is your WHY?

This is a question I often ask groups. It is important to understand the why behind your passions, career and every day decisions. Now some things we do or we are challenged with every day we can’t avoid, but if you remove those things, your why should have passion or a goal connected.

One of my why’s for my career choice is the fact that I get to wake up everyday and make an impact on someone. Whether it is one person or a room full of 100+ people, I get to make some type of impact.

I have been with my current company for over 5 years now and in year 2 is where I really found my why. There was a point in my then role (internal recruitment) where I wanted to start to connect more with men and women who looked liked me; to help them understand what career growth in this industry could be for them. I would start to target my recruitment strategies to meet and connect with more and more diverse talent and when I started to do that my productivity increased and my passion for my career grew.

It wasn’t until I found tasks that excited me, that I started to discover my why in my current organization. From that point moving forward I vowed that I would continue to do work and build a career that always fueled my why.

Finding your why in your career can be a challenge and you might have to make a career or position change in order to find your true why. But before you do that take a look at the below questions to see if you can discover your why in your current role/company before you make a drastic move.


Do you enjoy going to work every morning? 

If your answer to this question is yes, then you are on the right track to finding your why. If your answer is no, you should consider the initial reason why you decided to choose your current company. Is that reason still relevant today? Sometimes we can get comfortable with things we excel in and forget to think about what is next or how can you evolve to the next level. This is where you can start to re-discover your why with your current role and company.

What do you get lost in while at work? What is something that you wish you could spend more time doing at work? 

One thing that I get lost in at times is researching articles on being a woman of color in today’s society with respect to career growth and professional development. Part of my role within Inclusion & Diversity requires me to stay current and knowledgeable in specific topics. There is a rush of excitement when I am preparing for a presentation or a speech that is around women in business or being a woman of color. Since I am able to connect the two on a daily basis, it allows me to keep my passion and my why relevant.

Let’s go old school for a minute. Look for your job description (if you can find it). If you cannot locate it, look for something similar online. Now print out that job description and highlight the tasks that you enjoy the most. Ask yourself, are these tasks the driving force behind my role, or are these the smaller duties that will get overlooked? If your answer is the latter, you might have to find ways to incorporate those smaller tasks more to create an additional drive. When we do things we enjoy we have more satisfaction. Another question to ask yourself is how can you make those smaller duties into larger projects/assignments.

Do your core vales line up with your company’s core values?

You could love your role, but the company could not be a good fit which can result in an unhappy work union. I believe the two have to go hand in hand, because if not, over time, you are going to either resent the role or the company. I find it valuable to do a core value check for both yourself and the company you work for. If the majority of them are similar, then you are in a great position. But if they are not, then you need to start to think about how this could effect you over time.

A great example is integrity as a core value.  Working in a sales environment for the majority of my adult life, sales has a stigma of being “slimy” and  “unethical”. This can be true, but it is within your control whether or not you decide to let that stigma follow you or do something different. You also have to keep in mind when you are working for a company, your brand tends to get intertwined with their brand and vice versa.

Think about a used car salesman. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of one? Quick buck. Slimy. Fast talker. Manipulative. These are things that just naturally become associated with those career choices. So if you want to ensure your company or career is reflecting your brand, take a step back and look at the values.

Be sure when discovering your WHY within your career you are considering the top 3 questions. More questions can be asked, but this can help you get started.