This has been a hot topic in my life lately so I feel like I should address this one head on; finding your “why” in life is no easy task. But it has been said that once you find this mysterious “why,” you’ll understand who you are as a person at a level that will help you grow in your career, in your relationships, and as a person – all to a level that promises to reveal the best version of yourself.
That’s quite a tall order if you ask me.
It was about seven years ago that Simon Sinek, now one of the most highly revered motivational speakers in the US, gave the TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
That TED talk inspired a couple of books, a website on leadership training, a YouTube channel full of motivational speeches, and millions of people to start asking themselves, “how do I find my why?”
“Imagine a world where we wake up inspired to go to work” turned to “Imagine a world where we wake up inspired to live.”
The simplified idea behind “finding your why” is that we each have a set of core traits that rarely (if ever) change. These traits motivate you to be the best version of yourself. They help guide you’re your every decision in life. Questions like, should I:
- pursue an education?
- get married and start a family?
- work in a corporate setting or for a non-profit?
- become a vegan?
- spend 10 hours at the gym each week or zero?
Each of these decisions impacts wide-reaching corners of your life and every person makes their own decisions based on their own set of personal goals.
So how do we go about determining those core traits that apparently make us into the best version of ourselves?
What are my strengths?
First, we have to get crazy honest about our priorities. Here are a few sentences that you could answer to help uncover your true motivations.
- I love what I do because…
- I help people to…
- The best part of my day is…
- If I could spend an entire workday doing one thing, I would…
- If I could spend an entire non-work day doing one thing, I would…
- People thank me for…
- People tell me I’m good at…
- My favorite people have these traits…
- My favorite time of day is_________________ because _______________________.
- I feel most useful when I…
- If I go a week without________________________ I feel unfulfilled or disappointed.
Hopefully answering some of these questions helps uncover some things about your strengths and what drives you to be a better person.
What I won’t give up
The next step is to make a list of things you are not willing to sacrifice – no matter the cost. I suggest writing down three to five things in your life that, if they changed for the worse, would make you extremely unhappy, overwhelmed, or place important relationships in jeopardy. Another way to think about this list is to picture yourself five years from now. What do you see in your life that you hope either improves or does not change?
For example, I am not willing to work 60+ hours a week because it would take away from my time with my family.
I am not willing to work in a place or with people who are more negative than positive.
I am not willing to sacrifice healthy eating and exercise habits because I understand the impact it has on my body now and in the future.
So if we were to put it all together in paragraph form, it might follow a structure similar to this:
My why statement:
I am a ________________ individual. Above all else, I like to feel ___________________. I feel the most fulfilled when _____________________. Everything I do each day is done to _______________________________________________.
For me, it looks like this.
I am a creative, independent individual. Above all else, I like to feel appreciated and trusted. I feel the most fulfilled when I am helping others become the best version of themselves, follow their passions, and achieve their goals. Everything I do each day is done to create a safe and healthy place for my family to grow and learn.
Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear what you come up with for your “why!” Please share in the comments below!
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