WIFM is not a dirty word.

WIFM is a question and so deserves a question mark.

More properly presented, it looks like this:


WIFM = What’s in it for Me?

As you go about the plethora of things you do on a daily basis, have you ever asked yourself the WIFM? Or wondered “What’s in it For Me?” (Meaning YOU… What’s in it For You?)

We do things because we have to.  Because we’re supposed to.  Because we’re expected to.  Or need to. Maybe because we’re paid to. Or asked to. Or made to feel guilty to.  Any number of reasons.

Sometimes we simply want to.  Those are the best of things – the things we do simply because we WANT to do them, not because we have to do them.

But when you DON’T want to but have to do these things over and over again, you might find yourself asking, WIFM?

What’s in it for you? The appreciation and gratitude of others.  A hug from a child, a shoulder massage from a spouse.  Camaraderie, a return favor.  A paycheck, if we’re talking about paid work or a reference or free tampons in the employee bathroom…

Hopefully something.

I’m well aware that in any number of circumstances it would be uncomfortable or downright inappropriate to ask WIFM:

Boss to Administrative Assistant: “Please make 10 copies of the report for the meeting.”

Administrative Assistant:  “What’s in it for me?”

Yeah, that’s not going to work.  Neither does this:

Kid to Mom:  “Can you pick me up after school today and take me to the library?”

Mom:  “What’s in it for me?”


In those cases, WIFM may elicit a WTF?

So, I suggest that WIFM be a silent question, the kind you ask yourself at regular intervals.  WIFM allows you to look back what you’ve done, a rearview mirror glance of what you’ve accomplished, and look ahead to see where you’re going, eyes set on a desired future destination.

Have the courage to ask this question as you look at your year in review and your life as a whole.  Why do you do what you do?  What makes it important to you?  Who do you want to be?  How is your time spent?

What’s in it for you? The necessary introspection to help you figure out where you’ve been and where you want to go and the steps you need to take to get there.

So, use “WIFM?” to help you figure out What’s in it for YOU?

What’s in it for me, you ask?  (As in me, the writer)… Thank you for inquiring.  I get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing this.  Your breakthroughs and your success feed my sense that writing about topics like WIFM can be of some value.

That’s what’s in it for me.

But more importantly, What’s in it for You?  WIFY?

Valerie Gordon is the founder and owner of Commander-in-She, a career and communication strategy firm that helps clients use the principles of storytelling to create greater career success and satisfaction.  She’s available for presentations and group workshops.


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