Working with mid- to high-level professionals who long to create something dramatically better in their lives and careers, a stunning realization often emerges. Many see that they haven’t been true to themselves or honored who they are deep down. They begin to recognize that their authentic, core self has been denied in order to to feel accepted and validated in their job(s) and work cultures. Oftentimes, they realize too that they don’t have a clue about how they are special and unique, or what makes them valuable in the workforce.
Recent reports reveal that only 32% of the U.S. workforce and 13% of the global workforce is engaged (meaning involved, enthusiastic and committed). To craft a supremely happy career — a passion-filled direction that delivers both financial reward and personal satisfaction — you need to be doing work that allows you to feel competent and strong. But that’s not enough. It’s also critical to respect yourself and what you’re doing, and who you’re doing it with, while pursuing outcomes that personally matter, that feel good and right. If your work is meaningless to you, you’ll disengage. And if the outcomes you’re pursuing feel unethical or wrong in any way, you won’t be able to tolerate or sustain your work.
Worse yet, I’ve seen countless examples of people trying to survive a toxic or repressive work culture or boss by adopting a style that is foreign and ill-fitting. Try as they might, they won’t succeed at this. To be successful in an enduring way, you have to honor, appreciate and respect yourself, not force yourself to be someone you're not.
How can you determine your natural action style?
Below are the 6 key action styles I’ve seen are most prevalent in humans. Which one reflects your most natural, easy style?
The Striver is keenly motivated by achievement and accomplishment – by setting goals and doing what’s required to clear the pathway to achieve those goals. Strivers work hard consistently to overcome their challenges, and won’t hesitate to get outside help, advice and support from others to achieve their visions. They are deeply driven by high accomplishment and by achieving their goals as expeditiously and efficiently as possible, as if to make a “check mark” on their to-do list that represents “Done.”
The Seeker is motivated by expansion, learning and growth, and sees evolving and learning as the key objectives of experience. Seekers are not reluctant to change directions frequently if needed, embracing the idea of “going with the flow," and are comfortable modifying their visions based on new “material” that emerges in their lives at to point them in a new direction.
The Researcher is deeply driven and excited by the process of study, research, exploration and evaluation — exploring a wide range of angles and perspectives in order to understand the best goals to pursue, and the best avenues to achieve these goals. The researcher feels compelled to turn an idea or concept over and “peel the onion” to investigate, dig deep, explore and uncover as many alternative approaches and options in order to arrive at the best plan.
Pacers get to their goals, but they’ll approach the process very slowly, methodically, and often in a plodding way. The Pacer is like a great giant turtle with a hard, protective shell. When events or situations emerge that threaten the Pacer, s/he will submerge under the shell until the threat has passed. The Pacer will reliably plod to the goal, but often others have to move around the Pacer if they wish to speed up the process or take the most expedient route.
The Challenger needs to challenge everything — asking questions, disrupting conventional thinking, and not taking any advice, authority or direction given as definitive. The Challenger thrives on being able to turn a goal or a belief over on its head, and questioning why it exists. He is motivated by following his own, authentic answers to deep questions, and views himself as the highest authority on what is the right, or wrong, way to approach a situation or goal.
Finally, the Advocator, while striver-like, is compelled to drive to a goal only when it has personal “juice” and excitement — when it holds a deeper meaning and purpose, usually around advocating for some desired transformation — for him-/herself, others, the community or the world. Advocators need to find deeper meaning and purpose in their work and in their goals, and long for outcomes that will bring about positive benefit to everyone involved.
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While over our lifetime, each of us displays a mix of styles, there is one that is most natural and comfortable for you, and one that you most likely demonstrated as early as childhood. As you can see, each style matters and brings something critically important to the table. And each style plays off the other styles, to complement the different abilities and create a more cohesive and robust group of beneficial contributors.
Knowing how you like to operate in your most natural and unconstrained state helps you create work you love. The sooner you recognize (and powerfully leverage) your natural style, the sooner you’ll see how it contributes to the overall success of your organization or business. And the sooner you’ll start generating the success and happiness you long for.
Read the original article on Forbes.