How much does interest in your career influence your performance or rewards? Can you really be effective if you’re not interested? Over the lifecycle of your career, how has your level of interest coincided with what you were doing or what moves you’ve made or your general performance level?
To demonstrate this, take out a piece of paper and make a graph:
- The x-axis is the timeline of your work history.
- The y-axis is your interest level from low to high.
- Determine some key milestones in your career (big new projects, new bosses, promos, job changes, etc) and list them on the x-axis of your work history.
- Graph your career based on how interested you were (in your career) as you’ve progressed through the years. And make sure you don’t fall into the trap of correlating interest to hours. Being interested in your career is about being engaged and excited, it has nothing to do with hours.
I’ve played this with many people and it’s been interesting to uncover the insights gleaned from seeing their career according to this graph. Are they more interested in the months or year leading up to a promotion, or right after? Were they more interested working in group X vs. group Y, and why?
Also put in some life events to see what that might have done to your interest level. Did moving to a new house, with that great new home office, make you even more interested? When you were doing that hobby a couple years ago, did it make you more interested in work too? What could you do in your personal life to continue to be more interested at what you’re doing professionally?
Is the secret to high performance just being interested in what you’re doing?
With what you learned from the patterns in the graph, how could you become more engaged and excited by what you’re doing?