4 things to focus on instead of your salary.

The secrets of your motivations are also mine. But they aren’t what either one of us expected.

Dad bribed me to complete my first book.

The offer seemed pretty generous: One shiny dime. The Tooth Fairy’s going rate in the 1970s.

I whipped through See Spot Run.

He was pleased placing that dime in my palm.

Candy money pleased me.

Yet that exchange was a catalyst. A love of books eventually kicked in. Payments soon phased out. I never stopped reading.

On the face of things, it seems like one of Dad’s parenting triumphs.

Yet today I see my reading habit was less about candy-purchasing power, than perhaps…

The autonomy I felt reading on my own?

The sense of accomplishment?

The thrill of exploring unknown worlds?

Writer Daniel Pink tells us the salary isn’t what primarily motivates an employee. Drive includes 2 types: extrinsic (dimes) and intrinsic (discoveries).

He further posits that the intrinsic takes 3 forms: autonomy (self-direction), mastery (meaningful improvements), and purpose (bigger meaning).

I’m now reading with my daughter. She’s at a tipping point.

It leads me to wonder if shiny dimes risk obscuring her self-motivation and joys found in exploring.

In another context, I also wonder if the truth of my youthful “dime novels” applies even now in my adult, work life.

Now I ask: What shiny dimes are obscuring your exploration?

TAKE ACTION: Here are 4 ways to apply these truths, now!

(1) MARGIN MATTERS MORE. (This is the “autonomy” part.) Beyond compensation and the benefits package, is there flexibility in your work schedule to build in margin for reading, connecting, and reflecting? Can you create room for a Thinker Thursdays practice? At a minimum, re-imagine your lunch hour and any other flexibility you may have each week.

(2) BECOME THE AUTHORITY. (This is the “mastery” part.) What area can you begin to focus on that allows you to become a niche expert? Mastery involves work and zeroing in on what can begin to matter most. Do you know what that specialty or area of mastery is in your work life? What about beyond work? Here is a TED Blog about 6 future trends that may inform your search.

(3) ASK “TO WHAT END?” (This is the “purpose” part.) TED talk speaker, Simon Sinek knows that the how and the what of a job should come after the “Why.” Watch his leadership talk (How great leaders inspire action) and apply it to your career decisions.

(4) TURN TO OTHERS. (This is the “extra credit” part.) Navigating your professional past and purpose requires the eyes and input of others. Coaching may sound like an outlandish idea at this stage in your career. But now is actually the time! And it can begin with a conversation with someone at Greenhouse. (Full disclosure, I know these folks, but I don’t receive a dime.)

Read. Connect. Reflect.

A weekly practice each Thursday for reading, connecting, and reflecting.

Consider joining the weekly zine: THINKER THURSDAYS. Short. Sweet. It includes 3 topical articles, 2 TED talks, and 1 reflection piece like the above. Let’s call it food for thought. Join here.



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Devin D. Marks

Devin D. Marks

The TED TALK Whisperer. Clients enjoy 1M+View TED Talks. Also grateful host of Thinker Thursdays™ ( Join: https://bit.ly/3kLt5wr)