When it comes to doing work that is meaningful, fulfilling, and purposeful, you need one thing above anything else: You need to know your “why.”
If you haven’t heard of the concept of finding your why, this is a good place to start. But in a nutshell, your why is your purpose or the reason behind what you do.
Think of your why as your personal mission statement. It’s a brief, one-sentence summary statement that you can easily say and that others can understand and relate to.
Your why statement describes your vision for your life, the world, and what you hope to achieve through your work.
Distilling your ideas and business down your true why can take time. And wordsmithing it to make sure it’s just right can take even longer.
But in the end, knowing your why is an important and necessary exercise, especially if you want to do meaningful work. Here’s why.
Your why serves as a guiding light
Being able to articulate your why or your purpose is important for two reasons:
- It grounds you: Your purpose statement serves as the foundation for all work that you do.
- It inspires you: Your why serves as a guiding light that connects you to your vision and where you want to go.
When you find your why, these things happen:
- You connect to your big vision for yourself and for your work.
- You articulate your vision, which in turn helps you articulate that to the world.
- You know your path and where you want to go, even in times of uncertainty.
- You find it easier to stay motivated, keep going and doing the work.
- You’re tied into a purpose that is much bigger than you. You know what you hope to achieve through your work and how that serves the world
Even though the nuts and bolts of the actual work you’re doing might change, your why likely will not change.
You might find different ways to express your why, but it will remain a constant throughout your career (and even your life!)
How can you find your why?
Maybe you are already crystal clear on what you do and why you do it. But often people start businesses or careers without stopping to ask themselves the necessary questions and do the inner work to know why it is they’re doing it in the first place.
Here are a few questions that can help you find your purpose or your why.
- What do you want to be known for?
- What do you want your legacy to be?
- What drives you?
- Why are you doing this work in the first place?
- What is it you hope to achieve through your work?
Don’t worry, if you’ve never thought about this before it can seem daunting. You might not answer these overnight.
If you’re struggling with finding your why or answering the questions above, try meditating, asking for guidance, and daily journaling on the topic.
You might also see what inspires you about your work and about life in general, and what brings you true happiness.
Finding your why is the first and arguably the most important step in doing purposeful work.
I regularly take clients through this exercise as part of the coaching process. If you’re interested, you can sign up for a free consult here.
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