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Theresa Merrill

Identify Why You Do What You Do?


By now youve most likely jotted down a few New Years resolutionssome personal, some professional. Much is written about goal setting and typically the focus revolves around the steps that lead to the achievement of goals. Back up a minutelets approach this from a different vantage point; first ask Why You Do What You Do?

Steve Jobs wanted to make great productsthat was his why and from that he set about to do whatever it took to accomplish this. He had clarity of purpose, goal obtainment followed. Until you identify what motivates you and answer Why You Do What You Do? you will not achieve any of the goals you set. Worse yet, youll be putting undue energy towards the wrong goals.

Make a list. Draw a line down a piece of paper, on one side list what you like about your jobon the other side list what dont like. Look at all the items in the pros column and assign weight to them in terms of importance. There may be duplication, which is okay. This process will help you define Why You Do What You Do? 

Be honest. If you enjoy the spotlight and crave recognition, put it down. Honestly accessing what drives you to succeed will help you formulate a plan to get you there. Share this with your manager in an effort to gain their support. When praised and recognized in sales meetings, or one-to-one, it never failed to spur me on to achieve more. 

Get granular. Sure, a lot of sellers are motivated by money, but there is always more to it than that.  Peel away the layers. Acknowledge what you want to use the money for. To pay for your childrens college education? Help support retired parents? Identifying the why, the reason for doing what you do, is tantamount to your continued growth and success. 

Its no coincidence that high school, and college, reunions are responsible for successful diets. These individuals likely knew the health risks of carrying excess weight, but that wasnt enough of a trigger.  Their ego, the desire to look good amongst peers who hadnt seen them for awhile, was the why that propelled them to achieve their goal. 

Ask who are you? If you answer with your job title, then you dont know. Where are you if, and when, that job is taken away? What you do is sell, but why do you sell?  View yourself from your clients eyes.  What do they see you as? A problem-solver, marketing expert, skilled communicator, brand advocate trusted advisor? We play so many different roles in sales, which one is the why that makes things happen for you and your clients. 

Dont compromise. Ive worked with people that were just okay sales reps or managers and they seemed fine with that. They came to work each day and put forth the minimum effort, being just good enough to get by. These are the people who slip through the cracks in an organization.  We all know the poor performers get a lot of attention; and savvy firms understand the benefit of supporting and enhancing the top performers, but the okay guys tend to just exist.

If this is you, dont accept just good enough take the time to uncover your mission, your purpose in life and when you do you will rise to the rank of top performer.  People want to do business with people who know why they are doing what they do. So in my mind, there is no right or wrong answer to Why Do You Do What You Do? only the answer that helps you perfect your talents, through goal setting, to be the best at whatever it is you wish to accomplish.  Once you know the why only then will you be on the right path to be the best you can be.

Good luck! Please let me know how this works for you.  Happy New Year!

Theresa Merrill is the Director of Business Development for Anovick Associates. She has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in NY, Boston and Atlanta working for Katz Communications, CBS, Tribune and Cablevision and can be reached at 201.444.2991 or by e-mail

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