Discovering your “why”
Some of us know from an early age where our passions lie and what our “why” in life is. Others spend a lifetime trying to figure it out.
Your “why” is your purpose. It’s the passion, cause, and beliefs that drive each one of us. It is what makes you unique, inspires you to take action, is your reason for being, and the North Star that guides you.
“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Knowing your “why” can help you:
- Identify a career that fuels your passion: How many of you have gone to college and struggled with declaring a major? Much to my parent’s dismay, I switched my major three times. It wasn’t because I was flighty or indecisive. It was because I didn’t know my purpose.
- Map out a career path: When you begin to understand your purpose, you can map out the route and milestones along the way to fulfill your “why.”
- Set short-term and long-term goals: Fulfilling your “why” can take a lifetime. Short-term goals allow us to take the micro-steps to achieve long-term success. All those steps help you meet milestones along the road to your big picture, long-term goals,
- Get the help you need to be successful: Don’t go it alone. Seek out people you admire as coaches, mentors, and friends and utilize available tools, resources, and education to support you in achieving your goals.
- Build a point of reference for all your decisions: Each day, you will face decisions you have to make. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to things that don’t align with your goals or distract you from your “why.” At the same time, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to opportunities that lead you closer to your “why.”
- Achieve clarity and focus: You are confident, have a path, and chart your course. You get out of bed each morning knowing what you want to accomplish versus wasting your time pursuing things that don’t support your purpose. When you know and understand your “why,” you can live the life you choose on your terms.
- Lead with passion: You commit to your goals and never settle for less.
- Remain focused on the prize: You avoid being side-tracked by things that don’t matter and remain focused on those that align with your purpose.
- Have a healthier and longer life: In 2014, The Associate for Psychological Science published a study that outlines how leading a life of purpose can impact your lifespan. When you have a purpose, you give yourself something to look forward to as you strive to meet your goals.
- Develop perseverance and resilience: You find meaning when faced with challenges and setbacks. You become a master of your life by letting go of the things that don’t align with your purpose. You learn from adversity, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, and move forward.
- Show your true “genuine” self: You lead a life of fulfillment. Your passion for everything you do is genuine.
“You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
Finding your why
Now it’s time to get to work! Grab your favorite drink, a pen, a journal, and a place where you can have the time and freedom to look inward. Be prepared to ask yourself some tough questions, and to be honest with yourself.
What are my natural talents?
- What can I do to develop my talent further?
- Is there a market for my talent or skill? Who?
- Can I make money with my skills as a side hustle or a business?
What is my profession, career, or business?
- How does what I do for a living align with my natural talents?
- Does my professional “why” align with my personal “why”
- How can I align my professional and personal “why?”
- What are my short-term goals? Long-term goals?
- What resources and education do I need to help me close the gaps professionally and personally?
What does the world need?
- How can I contribute to the bigger picture?
- What talents and passions do I have that can make a difference in society? The world? My community?
- Are there avenues such as volunteerism where I could have an impact?
What do you love?
- What am I passionate about?
- What excites me and makes me tick?
- What do I think about? Want to talk about?
- If money was of no consideration, what would I be doing?
What are my core values?
- What are the three things I value more than anything in life?
- How do those things align with my career? Personal life? Goals?
- How do my values connect to and align with my “why?”
Now, let’s take what you’ve just done and create a “why” statement. Think of your “why” statement as your mission statement.
A “why” statement communicates your purpose concisely and powerfully. It should be actionable, articulate your contribution to others, and written as a sentence in simple and positive language. It should apply to you both personally and professionally. In Find Your Why, Simon Sinek and his co-authors explain that your “why” statement is “a statement of your value at work as much as it is the reason your friends love you. In other words, we don’t have a professional “why” and personal “why.” We are who we are wherever we are.
Simon and his team provide a simple format for creating a “why” statement.
TO ____ SO THAT ____.
The first blank represents your contribution — the contribution you make to others’ lives through your “why.” And the second blank represents the impact of your contribution. To create your own unique “why” statement, fill in the blanks.
“Not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou
“I want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be educated”
— Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize laureate and activist
“To help people find hope after loss.” — Gloria Horsley, Founder of Open to Hope
“We aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently.” — Apple
“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” — Google
“To invent and enhance products that promote comfort and confidence in women.” — Spanx
Here’s my “why”
To educate, inspire, and equip women entrepreneurs to succeed in business.
Now it’s your turn to find your why…
Join The Business360 Community to connect with like-minded women entrepreneurs.