Motivated Abilities Exercise

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Looking at the achievements of a lifetime can yield important clues as to what your “motivated abilities” are. A motivated ability is something that you are not only good at, but is intrinsically enjoyable or gratifying. Delivering an inspiring speech is something that might be intrinsically enjoyable for one person but a struggle for another. Yet the individual who struggles and ultimately succeeds may derive a great deal of satisfaction from the experience.

Finding a career option that allows you to regularly exercise your motivated abilities is the single most important factor in job satisfaction. It is a process, however, that cannot be rushed. Below are twelve slots for brief descriptions of events at which you not only achieved something significant, but also derived enjoyment or gratification from doing them. They do not necessarily all have to be recent or work related. If for instance there are things that you did in your personal life or many years ago, please include them. In each slot, try to capture:

  • What you did
  • How you did it (what skills or abilities did you draw upon)
  • Why it was important
  • What sense of enjoyment or gratification you derived from it

If you are like most people, you won’t be able to think of twelve at your first attempt. You will need to get your mind focused on this notion and over a period of days or weeks, other achievements will begin to come to mind. You and your consultant can examine these to further clarify the essence of the motivated abilities underlying the achievement. Ultimately, these themes will be essential in properly positioning your career search.

 

EXAMPLE: I took our sales information system and totally reorganized it, so that everyone would know where to find information and use it to make effective sales plans. This was especially important when the salesperson was out of the office and questions came up. I used technical skills of knowing Microsoft Access to organize the material and I had to use my powers of persuasion to get people to share their data and put it into the new database. I also had to use some creativity to come up with a data base format that really allowed us to organize the data in a useful way. It was a tough job going back into several years of data, but when it was done I felt a great sense of satisfaction that I had truly accomplished something that was of value to our organization. Two weeks later when I had to present a sales plan and I could show the organization how having this information organized, helped our planning process, I really enjoyed the appreciation the audience demonstrated.

Occasionally people have difficulty recalling the range of accomplishments they have achieved over their career. The following items may spur your recall:

  • Describe a specific situation in which you took charge of an emergency situation
  • Provide an example of something you created
  • Describe an idea you developed and implemented
  • Explain how you showed leadership during a challenging situation
  • Show how you increased the profitability of an organization
  • Show how you reduced costs for an organization
  • Show how you increased profit for a company
  • Describe how you developed others into positions of leadership
  • Describe how you built a high performance team
  • Describe what you did to receive a reward or a commendation
  • Cite ways you have influenced the strategy or mission of an organization
  • Describe a role you played leading a team that produced a specific result
  • Explain what you have done better than your colleagues and why this is important
  • Describe a situation where you set a high goal for yourself and then achieved it
  • Describe an important new improvement you created
  • Think of a project that added value to an organization and of which you were a principle author
  • Think of a time you might have influenced innovation in your industry

Below are examples of the kinds of skills or abilities that people come up with when they look at their achievement over the span of their career. Most individuals have themes that occur over and over again. A huge factor in having a successful career is to be doing work that you are not only good at but also will maintain your enthusiasm for the long run.

Examples Of Motivated Skills or Actions

administering
advising
alleviating
allocating
analyzing
appraising
arbitrating
arranging
assessing
auditing
bargaining
budgeting
building
calculating
caring for
coaching
collaborating
communicating
computing
conceptualizing
conducting
consulting
controlling
convincing
coordinating
counseling
creating
delegating
demonstrating
designing
developing
diagnosing
directing
documenting
editing
educating
engineering
establishing
evaluating
executing
experimenting
facilitating
forecasting
fund-raising
guiding
helping
hiring
identifying
implementing
improving
improvising
influencing
informing
initiating
innovating
inspiring
instructing
interviewing
inventing
investigating
leading
making
managing
marketing
mediating
merchandising
modifying
motivating
negotiating
organizing
persuading
planning
presenting
presiding
producing
programming
publicizing
reading
reconciling
recruiting
refining
reorganizing
representing
researching
resolving
revising
scheduling
searching
selecting
selling
setting goals
solving
speaking
supervising
systematizing
teaching
testing
theorizing
training
troubleshooting
understanding
writing

Examples Of Purely Technical Skills

actuarial
benefits program
cash management
commercial lending
development
compensation systems
contracts negotiating
cost accounting
divestitures
facilities planning
trusts
finance
investment financing
labor law
labor relations
material management
mergers/acquisitions
metallurgy
mortgage brokering
operations research
production control
public relations
quality control
real estate
regulatory affairs
sales training
statistical analysis
strategic planning
tax planning
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