What makes you tick?

My wife, a professional coach, has a deck of cards called ‘The Real Deal‘. Based on research conducted with working professionals, they’re designed to provide the framework for a self-guided activity – working out what makes you tick. What are the basic values and priorities that get you out of bed to work?

There are eighty cards, with a few ‘jokers’, blank cards you can write your own values on in case they aren’t in the deck. The cards offer a variety of things related to achievement, external things, intrinsic factors and relational aspects. Gifts. Promotion. Titles. Tools to succeed. Honesty. Solving problems. Being thanked. Raising the bar.

A lot of these seem to be obvious choices. Who doesn’t like to be thanked? The challenge is in reducing eighty things down to five, including one deal breaker without which you would disengage from work.

So I started by looking at each card in turn and putting it on the table before me, higher in a pyramid arrangement meaning it was more important. Some I could dismiss easily. Winning. Perks. Fame. This is as useful an exercise for jettisoning what’s not important as it is for concentrating on what is.

I started by shortlisting ten things, and when I looked at those, the ones that weren’t as important easily fell away and I had my five:

  1. Being challenged
    For me, to be engaged is to be challenged. I need to be stretched, and want to have my beliefs tested. I want to confront what scares me, and walk away stronger.
  2. Learning or growth
    I think this is my dealbreaker. If I’m not developing and learning, I disengage quickly.
  3. Good leadership
    People don’t leave organisations, they leave leadership. A hundred LinkedIn management articles and personal experience says so. I also want to be a good leader, and that’s not just about heading up a big organisation. Sometimes it’s as simple as supporting a team, motivating a group of volunteers or getting a class excited to learn.
  4. Humour / laughter
    It helps resilience, bonding, learning and productivity. I’ve been a member of several teams that have been enjoyable to be a part of, supportive and motivated. Good humour and laughter is what they all had in common.
  5. Being in nature
    People need to be around nature. The health benefits are legion. Only in the last few years have I come to fully appreciate how important being in nature is for me; to enjoy it, protect it and share that enjoyment with others.

That’s me, at the moment. These things can change, obviously. Even the process of reviewing them a year down the line could be helpful, and were I currently part of a team I’d love to compare my cards with others, and how well they aligned with my organisation.

What would your top five be?

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