Billy Ryan
March 2, 2023

Discover Your True Purpose

There are 6 core human needs in order to feel fulfilled in life: certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth, and contribution. Contribution focuses on the need to help or serve someone or something bigger than ourselves in a meaningful way.

Luckily, there is a multitude of different ways in which one can contribute to a greater cause. Some may contribute by investing in their community, while others may find that simply helping their own family members brings them achievement.

For business owners, finding the true purpose of your company is essential to creating a long-lasting institution. What is your business contributing to society and how can you maximize its influence? Why do you want to accomplish the things you do?

Finding the “why” of your business allows employees to understand their individual benefits and contribution to the future of the company. Defining the “why” of your company will inspire employees to be passionate about the work they do and work hard to make a difference for both themselves and others. Therefore, with all these benefits, how can we begin to create a “why” for our business? We will expand upon this topic and provide different exercises that will make the path to discovering your “why” quicker and simpler than ever before.

Exercises To Find Your Why

You may find yourself struggling to come up with a main purpose for your business. The most important thing is to acknowledge that you’re capable of finding it, as well as recognize the powerful benefits that come with such a seemingly simple idea. There are a few different free exercises available for those who may be struggling with the process initially.

Neither of the exercises we cover requires any specialized skills or worksheets. You do not need to pay for download links or expensive business classes; all you need is your brain as well as a  little guidance and effort. Now, how do you begin the process to find your “why”?

Exercise 1

The first exercise we’ll cover is reminiscent of the popular phrasal template word game “Mad Libs.” The main premise of this exercise is to help explain and make clear your ultimate purpose. The exercise works by providing prompts for you to answer that can help you tap into meaningful moments in all phases of life; including the past, the present, and the future. Simply grab a pen and a piece of paper and get started.

Understand Your Passion

When trying to come up with a business’s “why”, many begin struggling as they focus on the path they’re pursuing, rather than the one they’ve already taken. Connect your mind back to the past, whether it be the completion of a project that made you feel good or previous experience at jobs that made you proud. Write or sketch an image of this moment on the page and review which aspect made you feel the most fulfilled.

Determine Who It Helps

The next step is discovering what type of people you wish to serve. One of the most powerful means of bringing self-fulfillment is through the service of helping others. Helping others may include not only your direct customers but the communities you live in and even society as a whole. Many businesses fall victim to only saying things they think their desired customer base wants to hear, rather than what is authentic to them. However, it is the people that matter the most to your business that will be able to see through disingenuous words.

Decide what impact you want to have

The final step in the process of finding out your “why” is to define the impact you want your business to have on the world. Maybe you wish to provide ease for hardworking parents or it may be that you wish to improve the health of those who live their lives dealing with chronic illness. Whatever your business may be, be specific and write down how your business will be the answer to these inevitable hardships in the world.

Exercise 2

Exercise 2 is another written exercise, and if you’ve ever been around a toddler, you’ll find the premise of it quite familiar. While it may seem too simple, this exercise helps you find your business’ purpose by continuously asking yourself, “why?” to challenge your brain and connect to a deeper purpose. Keep asking yourself why until you successfully define your ultimate “why”. Some may find success after only a few rounds, while some may need to go through more, the point is to keep going until you get to the core of your main “why.”

Decide Your Goal

To start out this challenge, you must first define the goal you which to achieve with your business. One cannot simply research this on the internet or spend time asking others for the answer, it must be discovered on your own. Look inward and look toward the moments in life where you felt fulfillment and passion in your actions. Contrarily, look outwards at the lives of others who made you feel good. What did their actions do for you? How can you discover how to do the same for others? The goal for this portion is for your answer to be simple yet authentic.

Ask Why You Want To Achieve It

After coming up with the main goal of your business, dive deeper and begin to question why it is you’d like to achieve it. For example, your objective may be: “My goal is to make the lives of others better by providing easier access to health services.” Why do you wish to do so? What meaning and sense of fulfillment do you get out of doing this for others? Your response may be along the lines of: “Because someone did the same for me and/or someone I love.”

Ask Why Again

Once again, ask yourself why. Come up with a mental image of a ladder, each additional “why” you answer brings you an additional step closer to discovering your true purpose. Going along with the example goals as previously stated, ones next “why” could be: “Because my actions may grab the attention of others and inspire them to do the same, therefore improving the lives of even more people.”

Ask Why Until You Get Your Reason

Don’t feel rushed to complete this exercise within only a few rounds, as it’s important to take your time finding meaning in each and every one of your answers. You may spend a significant portion of time completing this or you may finish within only a few minutes, both circumstances are valid.

Reaching Your Full Potential One Day At A Time

Once you’ve figured out your business’ ultimate meaning, it’s important to have a visual medium in order to revisit and renew your passion. Hang up a poster of your “why” in your business office or maybe even make it your company slogan. When you’re not seeing the fruits of your labor and you don’t feel capable of achieving your ultimate goal, return to your “why” to regain focus and motivation. Revisiting your answers to these exercises will help empower you and improve the overall quality of your life as well as the overall success of your business.

Live With A Sense of Purpose

What does it mean to live with a sense of purpose? According to Anthony L. Burrow of the Human Development department at Cornell University, “Purpose is a forward-looking directionality, an intention to do something in the world.” Burrow acknowledges that while every person and every business is confronted with both ups and downs, purpose is the “…active ingredient that helps us stay stable.” Research shows that having a sense of purpose not only helps uplift and encourage you to achieve your goals – those who live purposefully even tend to live longer. This could translate to the professional sector as well; a purposeful business may have increased longevity and success compared to businesses that don’t discover their ultimate meaning.

Finding out your business’s “why” helps strengthen the authenticity of both you and your business. Not only will you be able to reach more customers who align with your message, but you will also be able to find employees who are passionate about your goals with ease, aiding in the overall success of your “why”, as well as your business.

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