051: Identifying Your Motivated Skills

Identifying Your Motivated Skills

For the last quarter of 2018, my podcast and blog theme is “Making Crucial Career Decisions.” This month, we’ll be drilling down on your skills, personality preferences, core values, and expertise. Each of these things can, and should, play a role in your career decisions.

Keep in mind that, whenever I talk about career decisions, I am speaking on a macro- and micro-level. The macro level is this: Does the career path you’re considering allow you to make optimal use of your skills and expertise? Does your personality type mesh with this career? Does this career fit within your most critical values?

On the micro-level, you are looking at particular job opportunities within that career. Keep in mind that, while a career may fit with your personality and values, etc., a particular job may not. The more you know about yourself, the more aware you will be of what is most important to you…I call them your non-negotiables.

Defining Motivated Skills

Today’s topic is “Identifying Your Motivated Skills.” Let’s start with a definition.

Motivated Skills are those skills that you are both very good at and get a great deal of pleasure from doing. The reason they are called Motivated Skills is because the more you do them, the more motivated you will be about your work.

The opposite of Motivated Skills is Burnout Skills. Burnout Skills are the skills you are very good at, but DON’T get any pleasure from doing. In fact, these skills suck the motivation right out of you. The more you have to perform Burnout Skills in your work, the more likely you are to…you guessed it…burn out.

Take the Assessment

If you’re interested in taking a Motivated Skills assessment, I recommend you opt-in to my 5-day course, “Finding Your Professional Purpose.” Day 2 includes Motivated Skills and Values activities.

To optin: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/

Here’s how the Motivated Skills activity works: First, you sort each skill by your skill level with it. A “5” means you have a superior skill level; a “1” means you have little or no skill.

Next, you sort those same skills by your Motivation Level. A “5” is Superior enjoyment in using that skill; a “1” means you are completely unmotivated to use that skill.

The idea is to come up with a core list of just 5-6 Motivated Skills. Any more than that, and you are unlikely to find a career or job that includes them all…and you may sacrifice the most important ones for those that aren’t quite as essential to you. Any fewer than that, and you may be lacking in self-awareness…you just haven’t lived enough, or been present enough, to know what you like and don’t like.

Why This Matters

Let’s talk about why knowing what your Motivated Skills are is so important. Obviously, you want this information to inform your career decisions on the macro- and micro-level; knowing your Motivated Skills will also help you answer some of the tough interview questions you’ll likely get asked.

Even within a job, knowing your Motivated Skills will help you make intelligent decisions about projects, committees, and assignments you volunteer for.

Of course, sometimes you don’t get to pick these things. However, by letting your boss know what your Motivated Skills are, he will be far more likely to put you on projects, committees, and assignments that align with those skills. After all, you doing a great job makes him look great…so it’s a win-win.

The Alternative

What’s the alternative to identifying, and capitalizing on, your Motivated Skills? Here are five downfalls:

-You don’t find fulfillment in your work…that soul-satisfying need to do what you were put on this earth to do.

-You don’t excel in your work…thereby limiting your potential to move up (which you don’t really want to do anyway…at least not in that career).

-You jump from job to job, not realizing what’s really wrong.

-Your dissatisfaction at work bleeds over into the other 2/3 of your life…it impacts your personal relationships and your sleep suffers.

-People who need what you were put on this earth to do miss receiving that from you. If this sounds esoteric, I promise you…this is what it’s all about.

What are these Skills?

I hope I’m made a compelling case for identifying and capitalizing on your Motivated Skills. So what are these skills anyway?

There are general categories of Motivated Skills, under which you’ll find several sub-categories.

Under the general heading of Communication Skills, you have skills in all forms of communication including verbal, written, presentation, sales, and negotiation. This group of skills involves the transfer of information in an accurate, persuasive way.

For Marketing, Public Relations, and Customer Service Skills, there is a wide range of skills that include being at ease in social settings, the ability to identify customer needs and preferences, and the ability to translate objective feedback into self-improvement and self-identify deficiencies to improve performance.

The general heading of Quantitative Analysis Skills includes computer skills and the ability to compile and analyze numerical data.

Under the general heading of Analytical Research Skills are scientific curiosity, research, and the ability to understand and use engineering or industrial principles, tools, and equipment to improve processes, services, or products.

Technical Reasoning Skills include mechanical and spatial reasoning, working outdoors in a technical capacity such as construction, environmental, or landscape projects, managing operations, or gathering technical or environmental data. Technical Reasoning Skills also include technical problem-solving or troubleshooting.

Creativity and Innovation Skills is the ability to use color and shapes to create visually pleasing images and to create new ideas and forms with existing objects. It also includes the ability to use imagination to create new ideas, projects, or programs.

Under the general heading of Teaching, Training, Instructing, or Counseling Skills: These are pretty self-explanatory. You are conveying information to an individual or audience in a teaching/training/instructing capacity, or you are counseling people to improve some aspect of their lives.

The final grouping is Project Management, Leadership, and Motivation Skills. These include managing and directing the work of others, motivating people to perform at their peak level, planning programs or projects, organizing people, data, or objects, and making decisions. It also includes the ability to manage detail-oriented tasks.

Again, I highly recommend opting in for my free 5-day course so you can take my Motivated Skills sort activity. That URL again is http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/




049: What to Do if You’re Not Growing at Work

So you’re not growing at work.

There are two facets to this topic I want to cover:

-You’re not being given new tasks or assignments to stimulate you (this is a management issue)

-You aren’t feeling motivated to do the work anymore (this is an internal issue)

You’re not being given new tasks or assignments.

If you’re not being given new tasks or assignments, it’s time to speak with your boss.

Be sure to listen to episode #47, where I talk about internal professional development possibilities, and how to take advantage of them.

For some of you, the boss is the reason you’re not being given new tasks or assignments. What do you do then?

I think it’s useful to figure out what’s really going on. Here are some possibilities:

-Your boss is afraid you’ll take her position and wants to hold you down.

How do you know if this is your problem? Look for evidence that your boss is an insecure person. Defensiveness, blaming others while refusing to take responsibility for her mistakes, and a general nervous energy are symptoms of an insecure boss.

Solution: Many times, this is a situation that requires you either move elsewhere in the company or leave the company altogether.

-Your boss isn’t aware that you want more of a challenge, or of all the skills and talents you have.

 How do you know if this is your problem? Your boss isn’t tuned into her employees, either professionally or personally. She doesn’t make an effort to get to know you or her other employees through such things as team building activities, happy hour, or going to lunch together. Distant, detached, uncaring are words you might use to describe your boss.

Solution: Set up a meeting with your boss to express your goals and concerns, without placing any blame on your boss. Let her know, directly and respectfully, that you want more challenge. Bring with you to the meeting ideas you have for ways in which you can better utilize your motivated skills.

-Your boss has so much on her plate that developing her employees has gone to the back burner.

 How do you know if this is your problem? As opposed to the previous situation’s detached and uncaring boss, this boss is overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted. She’s probably not a good time manager and may have trouble saying “no” to her boss. She may frequently cancel staff meetings at the last minute, she barely slows down all day, and seems distracted when she’s with you.

Solution: You have a chance here to offer to take something off your boss’s plate. You can take on an activity you’re excited about while relieving your boss a bit. Win-win.

-Your boss hasn’t been properly trained on how to lead and manage others and doesn’t understand that developing her employees is part of her job.

How do you know if this is your problem? This often looks like someone who isn’t comfortable in the supervisory shoes she’s been placed in. She consistently says and does the wrong thing in supervising her employees, or conversely, avoids actually supervising anyone. There’s also an element of fear here, because she may be terribly afraid she’ll be “found out” as incompetent. Often times, these people don’t recognize the failure of their own bosses to properly train them.

Solution: There’s not much you can do here, so this is a situation that probably requires looking for another job. If developing employees is not a company value, then an internal move probably won’t resolve the problem – you’ll need to look outside your current employer.

-Your boss is narcissistic, concerned only with her position and status within the company and not her employees.

How do you know if this is your problem? Appearances are everything to this boss – it’s all flash and no substance. You are certain she would throw you under the bus without a second thought in order to make herself look good. You certainly aren’t going to get the leadership, coaching, and mentorship you want from your boss if she’s a narcissist.

Solution: Run, don’t walk, because narcissists think only of themselves and won’t have your back when you most need it. Seek an internal transfer or look outside your employer.

You’ve lost your motivation.

If the problem is you’ve lost your motivation, here are my top tips to get it back:

Your thoughts

I promise you the lack of motivation you’re experiencing is a result of thoughts you’re having about your job, your boss, your coworkers, or your employer. NOT the job itself.

The first step is awareness of the thoughts you’re having.

The second step is to gently direct your thoughts to ones that serve you better.

For example, if you’re thinking “I hate my job,” you might redirect your thoughts to “I have a job.”

From there, you can practice thinking more positive thoughts about your job.

Shake Up the Repetition

Often times, a dip in motivation comes from feeling like you’re in a rut…doing the same things day after day, in exactly the same way.

How can you shake up what you do, how or when you do it, to infuse some motivation into your work?

Get creative here. Design a new system, process, or tool to help you do your job better. Is there the possibility of doing your work in a different physical environment? How can you look at your work through new lenses?

Helping Others

Who can you help at work?

Mentoring another employee, volunteering through your employer, or joining a committee that is doing meaningful work can all be ways to infuse your motivation.

Do It Anyway

Give your best every day regardless of whether or not you are motivated.

Sometimes, my biggest accomplishments come from plowing through a completely uninspired day to do the work anyway.


Celebrate even your smallest achievements at work.

Make a game of rewarding yourself for little things…make it fun! If your department doesn’t have any fun awards, set one up and lead it yourself.

Interested in a deep dive with me? Register for my next webinar. In addition to great content, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions and even get coached by me live! Here’s the link to find out about this month’s topic, date, and time: click here



Factors That May Be Sabotaging Your Motivation at Work

It’s Blog #100.

Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

I’m shepherding in a new era with my blog.

I recently dropped the first five episodes of my new podcast, “The Exclusive Career Coach.” The podcast is intended to serve as your go-to resource for all things career management including job search strategy, career decision-making, interviewing, managing your career trajectory, and…perhaps most importantly…managing your mind throughout your career.

From this point forward, my blog will come out on Fridays, and will be an intro into the topic I covered in that week’s podcast. New podcast episodes will come out on Wednesdays.

The blog will be an appetizer, so if you’re not particularly hungry for that week’s topic, you’ll probably get enough from my blog.

But if you want the main course, simply click on the link and listen to the full meal deal.

Podcast episode #5 is entitled “Think Yourself Motivated,” and I’m talking about how to keep your motivation high at work regardless of what’s going on around you.

Regardless of your heartless boss, your diabolical co-worker, or the direct report who is out to steal your job.

Here’s what I want to offer you in today’s blog: It’s not your circumstances at work that are demotivating you.

It’s your thoughts about those circumstances.

Because thoughts generate feelings.

Feelings generate action, inaction, or reaction.

Actions generate results.

You THINK your circumstance is that you have a heartless boss…malicious co-workers…no opportunity for advancement.

Those are all thoughts.

Here’s your circumstance: You have a job.

You have four co-workers.

Your boss is Jane Smith.

Period. Those are the facts of your work situation. The rest are thoughts you are having about that circumstance.

The drama you are CHOOSING to create around the fact that you have a job with four co-workers and a boss named Jane.

Here’s the bottom line: the ONLY thing sabotaging your motivation at work is YOU.

And that’s the good news, because you have complete control over yourself.

And absolutely no control over how anyone else things, feels, or acts.

So here are a couple of turnarounds:

“My boss doesn’t care if I stay or go and doesn’t appreciate my work.”
Turnaround: “I have a boss.”

“My co-worker Sally undermines my work every chance she gets.”
Turnaround: “Sally is my co-worker.”

Here’s what I’m NOT thinking: “My boss is the greatest boss on the planet.”

I’m not going to believe that.

But I can certainly believe that I have a boss.

That I have a co-worker named Sally.

In time, I will feel confident enough to practice a new thought, such as:

“My boss is very good at finding money for his team to go to conferences.”

“Sally is very good at organizing reports.”

Here’s the bottom line: does the thought you’re having about your boss…your co-worker…your employer…serve you?

If not, change the thought. After all, every thought is optional.

Want to hear more on this topic? Listen to podcast #5: “Think Yourself Motivated,” on The Exclusive Career Coach. Here’s the link:

Hey – are you struggling with whether or not to leave your current employer? Whether to seek that big promotion? Whether you’re in the right career field?

Having a neutral expert to listen…provide a fresh perspective…and give expert advice…could be just the thing. 

Interested in a deep dive with me? Register for my next webinar. In addition to great content, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions and even get coached by me live! Here’s the link to find out about this month’s topic, date, and time: click here






005: Think Yourself Motivated

No matter the circumstance of your job, you CAN keep yourself motivated.

What are some of those circumstances?

-Not having a supportive manager

-Co-workers who aren’t supportive…or who may be trying to sabotage you

-Not being recognized, or compensated, in alignment with your contributions to the organization

-The company as a whole does not have a clear direction…the focus is constantly shifting

-No opportunity for upward advancement

-You have responsibility, but you don’t have authority commensurate with that responsibility

-Expectations that don’t allow for much life outside of work


You can think negative thoughts about these circumstances, but that is completely optional.

What are some of the thoughts you might be having about the circumstances I’ve mentioned?

“My boss doesn’t care about me.”

“I hate the people I work with, and they hate me.”

“Nobody cares how much I contribute to this company.”

“How can I possibly be successful in this company, when no one is steering the ship?”

“How can I be effective in this role when I can’t make the changes I need to make?”

“All I do is work.”


All of these thoughts are optional.

What results might you get with those thoughts?

-Underwhelming performance evaluations


-Reduced chances for promotion

-Less-than-stellar performance evaluations

-A lack of satisfaction in a job well done


To change these results, change the thoughts you are thinking.

Because your thoughts generate your feelings.

Your feelings generate your actions.

Your actions generate your results.


Here’s the thing about your thoughts:

-They are optional.

-You probably aren’t even aware of them.

-It takes practice to change your thoughts.

-The first step to changing a thought is to recognize the thought you’re currently having.

-The second step is to decide whether or not that thought is serving you.

-You’re not allowed to beat yourself up for your thoughts.

-You don’t want to try to make a 180-degree change in the thoughts you’re having, because you won’t believe that new thought.


Make small shifts in your thoughts toward a thought that serves you better.

Going from “my boss hates me” to “I have a boss.”

That’s nice and neutral, isn’t it?

Does it serve you better to think “I have a boss” than “my boss hates me?” Absolutely.

Eventually you’ll be able to start practicing an even more positive thought.

Take baby steps.

You’ll get there.


Here are some final thoughts about your thoughts.

-No one can make you feel happy…successful…fulfilled…but you.

Your boss can’t make you happy. Your co-workers can’t make you feel successful.

Only you can do that. And you do that with your thoughts.

-Be aware of your thoughts, but don’t beat yourself up for the thoughts you’re having. Just pay attention.

I write my thoughts down every morning: good, bad, neutral. I dump them out on the paper to see what’s going on up there.

-Make incremental changes in your thoughts that move you in the right direction.

-Don’t abdicate your happiness…success…sense of fulfillment…to anyone but yourself. That’s your power, and you don’t want to give it away.

Interested in a deep dive with me? Register for my next webinar. In addition to great content, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions and even get coached by me live! Here’s the link to find out about this month’s topic, date, and time: click here