Two Ways To Find Your ‘Why’
Do you know your “why?" Why are you doing what you are doing? Please don’t tell me to make money. Money is a result of what you are doing. It is not the why. Your “why” is your purpose. When you find your purpose and live it, you discover meaning and you get to do what you love. When you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
When you find your passion and your purpose and live out your “why,” your work becomes a labor of love. Work is what we do by the hour, while labor sets its own pace. Living out your mission, you tap into a creative stream that allows you flow—an intense focus and crisp sense of clarity that others notice. Simon Sinek has a TED video with more than 12.8 million views in which he explains the importance of finding your “why.” He points out that “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
What is your cause? What are your beliefs that drive you and get you out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care? Most of us can explain what we do. Most of us can explain how we do what we do. But can you articulate your “why?" Are you passionate about solving problems? Are you driven by continuous improvement? Does helping others succeed drive you? Are you trying to make the industry more professional? Do you love being part of the creative process and watching an idea germinate, blossom and flourish? Find your “why” and live it courageously. At a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”
It is your responsibility to discover your “why.” Once discovered, center your life on it and allow it to flood meaning into your life goals and daily activities, and become an everyday source of integrity and pride. Your purpose should be rooted in love, not fear; aligned with your fundamentals, your passions and desires; something that moves you emotionally and not just mentally; energizing and nourishing; and inspiring and worth building a life around.
Here are two ways to help you find your “why”:
1. You’ll find it inside. You already know the answer. Just step back and look inward, and then trust your gut. Let go of self-interest and control, and reflect with honesty on your values, your beliefs and the things that matter most to you. Ask yourself if your life serves something of value in itself and not just what you think you can get from it. If you can direct your energies in the service of creating a greater good, it will return to you. Allow yourself to have moments of awe that put you into the moment. Watch the leaves change color and drift to the ground. Stare at the fire, smell the smoke and hear the pops and crackles (Hopefully around a campfire or fire pit). Get up and watch the sunrise to see how the colors of the world change and hear the birds greet the new day. And then, listen—to yourself. The answer is inside of you.
Be for the sake of being. Love for the sake of loving. Give for the sake of giving. Trust the world to give it back to you. It always does. It’s the law—the law of the universe. Pursue your purpose with a sense of service to it. When you keep your self-interest at bay, you’re able to find your true purpose.
2. You’ll find it by working at finding it. Steve Pavlina suggests that anyone can do it in about 20 minutes. Begin with an open mind and a commitment to work at it until you get there. Write on a blank piece of paper (or type in a new document file if you’re more of a computer person) “What is my true purpose in life?” Write the first answer that pops into your head. Now repeat that with each new answer that comes to mind. When you get to the one that makes you cry, you have found it.
It could take 100, 200 or even 1,000 answers but when you hit one that hits every emotional nerve in your body, you have found it.
Will finding your “why” help your business? It will if you make the decision to live it, love it and be it.