You may well have KPIs that are clear enough and the Job Title may be self-explanatory, but it’s surprising how many people aren’t really clear what they want to achieve in their current role.

When we’re younger we tend to want success and promotion, preferably with a bit of recognition thrown in.  This may be enough in the early days, but at some point, you need to know why you’re working so hard.  What’s it all for?  What are you getting out of it?

“Start with the Why”, as you have no doubt heard Simon Sinek say.  Great; but how do you find your why?  Well, if you’re beavering away working on a cure for Cancer, then you don’t have to look to far for the answer, but for most of us it’s not as simple as that.  We want to do something worthwhile, for a Company who’s values we share, we want to make a difference, we want to learn, to have work-life balance, we want financial rewards.  Probably all true for most of us, but it doesn’t really give us much in the way of direction.

In a helpful, but not particularly scientific way, I’ve crashed together three slightly different models for the things that motivate us and drive us forward (*references below. There is considerable overlap, which is perhaps unsurprising.)

It might be helpful to examine these for clues as to your personal top priority, i.e. the kind of thing you would invest your time in on an unpaid basis, after you get bored having spent two years travelling the Caribbean with your £100M lottery winnings.  One you are clear on this, you can consider how your current role fits in with these plans.



  • P – Positive Emotions (Literally enjoying what you do in the moment)
  • E – Engagement (Being fully absorbed in work, barely noticing time pass)
  • R – Positive Relationships (The people around you)
  • M – Meaning or Purpose (Your personal mission to change the world in some way, no matter how small)
  • A – Achievement (Getting things done)



  • Autonomy (Choosing not just what you do, but how you do it)
  • Mastery (Being an expert)
  • Purpose (As above in PERMA)



  • Security (Can I get to the point where I am financially independent?)
  • Certainty (I fully understand the rules of the game I’m playing)
  • Autonomy (as above in AMP)
  • Relatedness (as per Positive emotions in PERMA)
  • Fairness (I am driven by the need to right wrongs and see fair play)


Click on this link for a further exploration of what your Strengths are

Click on this link to ensure that your tasks link directly to your overarching purpose

Click on this link to consider how to rationalize your planning processes


* Sources:

PERMA taken from: Martin Seligman, Flourish (2011)

AMP taken from: Daniel Pink, Drive (2009)

SCARF taken from: David Rock, Your Brain At Work (2009)