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Knowing and Aligning your WHY

Do you know what motivates you? From a personal perspective, when you understand what motivates you, you can take steps to ensure you are getting the most fulfillment out of life by making more informed decisions. From a professional perspective, when your job and company culture are aligned with your motivators, you will be more engaged and better able to handle job stressors and potential conflicts in the workplace.


  1. something that provides a reason or stimulus to do something.

Motivators can be referred to as things you are passionate about, things you perceive as important, or values you perceive that provide purpose and direction in life. When you have clarity in these driving forces, and they are aligned with your personal and professional life, you may find greater satisfaction and a deeper understanding of what makes you happy. According to Simon Sinek, your why statement is the compelling higher purpose that inspires and acts as the source of all we do. Simon’s “Start with ‘Why’ – TED Talk” is one I highly recommend.

Most of our uniqueness comes from our motivators. Life is full of choices and your motivators, which will change over time, will guide the decisions you make. As a Professional Recruiter, I find myself asking WHY many times throughout an interview. WHY would you consider making a move from the job you have now? WHY did you make each of the job changes I see on your resume? WHY does this job appeal to you? WHY should this employer hire you? As a paid Hiring Consultant, I ask Employers, WHY is this job open? WHY would someone want to work here? WHY is your company good at what you do? WHY are your customers loyal to you? WHY is this job a good introduction to your organization or industry?

Speaking the language of motivators can help an individual to tell a story about themselves. “Cathy is an energetic natural leader who creates and inspires authentic conversations to align talent, purpose and goals for employment and business success.” Understanding your motivators can provide valuable insight about what energizes you and/or what you may feel indifferent towards. This insight may also help you to ask questions to better identify the culture of an organization, or to a specific job that you will be most fulfilled and satisfied with.

Using motivators as part of the formula for matching talent can help an employer identify success factors in a specific job. This is a critical step in job benchmarking. After we have identified technical knowledge and skills required for a job, we go further to identify the key motivators for a specific job, which makes for a deeper connection to success factors for the job-to-talent match.

For example, if I’m hiring a salesperson, I would look for a high Utilitarian motivator – one that is looking for improvement in productivity, time management, allocation of resources and solving problems that will enhance the bottom line. If I’m hiring in the non-profit or customer service sector, I would look to identify a high Social motivator, where an individual is motivated to help others, to eliminate pain and conflict, and to improve society and humanity. If I’m hiring a CFO or Professional Engineer, I would look for a high Traditional motivator – primary drivers for this motivator may be called unity, order or tradition; following a system for living that has defined rules, regulations and principles for living.

Using Motivators in coaching and talent acquisition is one of the differentiators in my business. Using assessments by TTI Success Insights, has helped me provide a valuable computerized tool for individuals and organizations who want to use science and data to improve their decision-making process.

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