Recently for Job Club, the show I host for ABC News Now, a digital news channel, I interviewed mega bestselling author Daniel Pink about his most recent book, DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
There’s a neat anecdote he shared that I want to share with you.
As legend has it, Clare Booth Luce, a journalist and one of the first women to serve in Congress, paid a visit to a young President Kennedy. She told him that “a great man is a sentence.” By that she meant the life’s work of any successful leader should be summed up into one sentence. She said she feared that Kennedy didn’t have a sentence but a muddled paragraph—and that he risked losing focus by trying to do too much.
Dan Pink suggests asking yourself, “What’s my sentence?” In other words, how can you summarize the mission of your work clearly and concisely?
In my case, everyone who knows me is very certain about what I do. Nothing makes me happier than when someone yells out in the airport, “Hey you’re that jobs lady.” Everything I do falls under one umbrella: I help people develop the clarity and confidence to pursue their own career success.
What’s your umbrella? How would you sum up in one sentence what you do and what you want to be known for?
The second question Pink suggests asking yourself every night: “Was today better than yesterday?”
He says none of us should expect to answer yes every day. Far from it. But if you ask that question tonight and the answer is no, you’re more likely to wake up tomorrow and hustle to ensure it’s a yes by bedtime.
This is very much in keeping with what I suggest to all jobseekers: You must take consistent action to engage with others every day. It’s not enough to just apply online. You need deliberate action daily to reach your goals.
Finally, I’d suggest a third question to ask yourself. This one should be asked every morning: What will I do today to make today better than yesterday?
Some days you might build on the disappointments of the day before. What’d you forget to do? Where did you fall short of your goals that you can pick up on today? Other times, you’ll build on successes from the previous day. You’ll have accomplished something great that you want to repeat and grow.
Get in the habit of asking—and answering—these questions to set the tone for success.
Share with us what YOU do to maintain a positive attitude and to tackle your goals with a sense of purpose.