I met up with a friend this week and we got chatting about what motivates us in our work. He’s a journalist, I’m a user experience designer, but that’s just what we do on a day-to-day basis – we decided to dig a bit deeper and try to discover what underpins this.
We challenged each other to identify our principal motivation, a defining principle for our working selves. You might call it a ‘personal mission statement’.
This may sound like one of those lame self-improvement agendas, but I believe that we all have core motivations that remain constant in our lives but are manifested in different ways as we change jobs, roles and even careers.
For example, I’ve been a writer, a magazine editor, a trainer, an information architect and a user experience consultant. But underneath all those various roles lies a personal goal that’s common to all of them.
Up until this week I didn’t know what this common factor was, but now I believe I’ve got it. So, here it is, my personal mission statement (drum roll):
To encourage and enable other people to be creative.
That’s it! Sounds simple, obvious even, but as I reflect on the most rewarding jobs in my life (editor of a guitar magazine, training people to write better, designing experiences that are rewarding for users), they all have that aspect in common – they are my attempts to enable creativity in others.
It also explains many other things I’m attracted to: Why I love Apple’s philosophy, why I’m buzzing about Instagram, why I find Leonard Bernstein’s work as an educator inspirational – all this makes much more sense to me now I’ve determined the source of my motivation.
So what about you – do you have a personal mission statement? I would love to hear about your own motivations in the comments below.