The importance of finding our "Why".
Do you ever wish you were more passionate about the work you do?
Do you feel trapped in your job and the direction your career has taken you?
Do you ever feel like you're meant for something greater, but I don't know what?
I've experienced these thoughts in the past, along with most clients that I work with. There are usually two situations my client's find themselves in. The first is an overwhelming feeling of being trapped in their day job. The fun, passion and drive have gone, and they're just cashing a paycheque.
The second is a client on top of their game, in the position they thought they wanted, but still, something is missing.
Either way, this unfulfilled feeling is confusing, frustrating and can crush our self-worth. The fact that we can't get clarity about what is missing or what we need to do finds us procrastinating and doing the worse thing possible...nothing at all!
It's all very well for us to try to leave our work at work or leave our home lives at home, but the truth is, there's one common denominator in the formula, YOU. You go to work, and you go home, so trying to compartmentalise feelings of being unfulfilled will undoubtedly spill over into our home and work life.
So what is the missing link?
In my experience, it comes down to your purpose and the impact you want to have on the world. Simon Sinek, author of "Start with why", talks about the importance of finding your "why". Your why is your purpose, the reason you get out of bed every day. If we know our purpose and the impact we want to have on the world, we can start making decisions that move us towards it.
Please don't confuse the above with your job role. It's straightforward to look at your responsibilities in your job description and state they are your purpose. As a personal example (although I don't have a job description 😜), I could say, "my purpose is to get up and write and coaching article". Just for the record, that alone is not enough to get me out of bed with drive and enthusiasm.
My current why statement is:
"To move people from a life of feeling trapped, confused and stressed to a life of freedom, clarity and purpose."
All my decisions gravitate around the above statement. Writing articles every week becomes purposeful in service of my why.
Finding your why doesn't mean you have to make radical changes in your life. One of my clients felt disillusioned at work. We worked on finding the purpose and impact they wanted to bring to the world; it was "to educate young people in fitness and nutrition so they can positively impact others". Once this became clear, they realised they were in the right organisation; they had just lost touch with the impact they wanted to have. They pivoted in the organisation to step away from operations to teach directly with the people they wanted to serve. Their passion for work went through the roof.
So how do we find or why?
Finding your purpose and the impact you want to have takes time, curiosity and cultivation. Here are some steps to take to get you on the right path:
1. Put time aside to work on it. There is no clear route to finding your why, but there are a few questions that can help:
If I could have any impact I wanted on the world, what would it be?
If I could solve any problems in the world, what are the top 3 I would solve?
If I could have a billboard that the whole world would read, what would be my message?
The answers to these questions will start to have similar connections, pointing towards your area of purpose and impact.
Another approach is to make a list of all your skills and then list all your passions in life. Now look for areas your skills intersect with your passions. In my case, my skills of coaching, listening, self-motivation, digital design and mentoring linked with my passions of people, risk-taking, health, fun, creativity and service manifested into my Clear Water Coaching practice:
2. Get curious about your career. - Does your current role serve any aspects of this purpose? If so, great, keep using your purpose statement as a compass to drive you on.
Don't be put off if your purpose feels detached from your role. Get curious about how you can integrate it outside of work. For example, one of my clients works in education; it turned out that her purpose focuses on animal welfare. Rather than quit her successful job, she cultivated time to explore what she could do with animal welfare. She feels like she is moving towards a cause and purpose by doing volunteer work with various animal trusts. Consequently, it made her more motivated at work as she realised a big part of her values were around fairness, equality and welfare, so she was in the right job...for now 😜
3. Take action - Once you find opportunities that move you towards your why, do something about it. This might be getting involved with a different project in work; it might be enrolling on a course about something totally different to your day job. Whatever it is, follow your curiosity and ignore the internal dialogue that tells you it's a waste of time. As discussed in a previous article, clarity comes from taking action.
4. Reflect and pivot - Every time you take a bold step towards your why, take some time to reflect. It was likely that the action you took was uncomfortable, but what was the result of taking the step? Do you feel energised? Does it feel like you're moving towards something good? If so, crack on and take more steps! If not, reflect on what is out of alignment and pivot with your next step.
Curiosity does not kill the cat; it creates a lion!
As you can see, it's quite an adventure getting clear on the impact we want to have in the world. People can get frustrated that it takes time and work but stick with it; it will be worth it. Once you have even the faintest idea of where you're heading, please write it down somewhere for you to see. Remind yourself of it daily so that your decisions and actions move you closer. Be patient, my friends.
If you find yourself getting frustrated about finding your why, please click this link. It can be such a confusing situation, and I'd really like to help.
Here's to your journey.