Why do you go to work? Money right? But why do you do the work at work? I believe there are 3 main mindsets that drive why people work the way they do.

Just to make things clear, it is not your “right” to be successful just because you’ve been working for a number of years, or because you finished “school”.

I find that many people, actually even those in school, fall into a similar mindset about their work. Whether they would put it so simply is unlikely, but I believe a lot of people think:

  1. “I will work just hard enough to keep my job”

This type of work ethic confuses me, but I find a lot of people want to put in their hours and go home. Maybe it’s because they haven’t found a job they’re passionate about, or maybe they are short-term thinkers and just aren’t driven by goals. Thankfully, if you’re reading this you’re likely not in that group.

Alternatively, group 2 at least puts some effort in. They are more appreciated and likely to be given promotions. These people have a mindset that says:

  1. “I want to impress and do well at my current job”

This is where we hit the top of the bell curve of our 3 mindsets. Most people have some level of drive to do well at their job and also have some level of concern for the future. They strive for recognition, appreciation, acceptance, and promotions. This is a great way to go about your work, and it can definitely move your career forward.

But why limit yourself to that? You can think longer-term instead by saying to yourself:

  1. “I want to become more valuable to others”

This is precisely the attitude that takes work from being just about doing your work, to put learning and serving others at the core.

People often comment on me working so hard. The reason isn’t because I want a promotion, or to get recognition. I want to become a better and more valuable person, outside of my current situation, by learning all that I can so that whoever hires me in the future will see value. I believe this is the best way to progress your career, and it can even go one step further.

As an added bonus, if you’re the best at what you do, and your career success is based on your knowledge, skill, and passion for helping others instead of just time spent doing the work – you have more options for a career: Employee, Freelancer, Entrepreneur, Consultant etc.

That’s not everyone’s goal though, and it doesn’t have to be. There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else. The same long-term learning mindset will still accelerate your career and provide value to others.