“Our WHY is our purpose, cause, or belief—the driving force behind everything we do.
― Simon Sinek
Do you have a sense of your “why” or your life’s purpose? It’s a question that has always been relevant to humans. It’s essential to recognize your “why,” acknowledge it, and move forward with achieving it. A higher purpose will serve your mental, emotional, and physical health. You can create better circumstances for yourself, your friends and others. You can accept a better position in this world and become a happier person for it.
“What is my Why?”
Your “why” is an extension of what you desire to accomplish most in this world. It provides the foundation for you to build a life of purposefulness for the good of others; if you have found your “why,” congratulations! You are making a positive impact on the world.
If you have yet to find you’re why, keep reading. To discover your purpose is to discover a part of yourself that you have never known or have been pleading for recognition.
Why we don’t uncover our “Why.”
Did you learn about a life of purpose, meaning, fulfillment, or your gift to the world in school? Knowledge of ourselves is one of the most challenging endeavors we can progress in. As humans, we get so inundated with everything we have to address (bills, family, school, work, relationships, emergencies, etc.) that we go through the motions. We accept life is made to the next day with a vacation of happiness thrown in.
In this article, you will understand the importance of your why and its incredible impact on the world. First, you will learn to “focus on your why.” Next, you will see why only you can define your own why. It would help if you spent time exploring your why, as it is a vital part of you. You will then learn goal setting based on your why. Finally, you will know the power of defining your why and not letting others define it for you.
Focus on Your Why
A German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche said this about a person’s “Why”:
“He who has a why can endure any how.”
Now let’s take a closer look at these great words.
“He who has a why….”
Human beings need worthy direction. Not many things in life are as defeating as a person with no guidance. In having a why, a person can make a plan to make their “why” a reality. Without a point of focus, a human is like a ship with no destination. They end up as wondering derelict.
“…can endure any how.”
A person’s why is intrinsic, mindful. It’s a natural understanding coming from the deepest part of a person. The why grants feelings of hope to the individual. A person will endure almost anything with this positive energy. A person may get a job that doesn’t fulfill them, but if the purpose of the job assists in realizing their “why,” the person will succeed in it.
Earl Nightingale, a founder of Nightingale-Conant Corporation, was committed to helping others be at their best. Earl had a small insurance company, and he would give his team a motivational talk every morning. He recorded a speech for his team to listen to while he was away. That talk became The Strangest Secret. It went certified gold and became the beginning of the personal development industry.
Mr . Nightingale’s purpose has affected millions upon millions of people.
If you are asking, “How do I find my Why?”, you can start with these simple questions.
What am I most passionate about?
What values do I hold most dear?
What change do I want to see in the world?
You can ask family and friends what they have noticed about you and what you naturally gravitate towards. Journaling is also a good tool for helping you define your purpose. The point is, start. Once you begin your journey, you will be amazed at what you find out about yourself.
Only You Can Define Your Why
Even though asking your family and friends about who you are can help in the process, you are the one who must define yours why. Not one person in this world knows you like you. So, your why or purpose must come from you only.
People like deciding who others should be. It’s part of our nature. Now, there are well-meaning loved ones who genuinely believe they are helping you by telling you to become a successful doctor. But they don’t walk in your footsteps.
Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. You must peel back every layer of yourself to discover who you are. Make a list of the things you like to do, the people you want to be around, and the things you would do for free if you had all the resources in the world.
Looking inward and discovering yourself is a form of personal growth. It may lead you to re-direct efforts from one career to another, but it will help shape a more successful future.
Spend Time Exploring Your Why
There is no need to rush regarding your “why.” It will take time, thought, and effort to define it. High school students become stressed out thinking they must decide on a career before graduating high school. Of course, teens don’t need to do this, but “others” convey that teens must know what they want to do for a career.
But the best thing a high schooler can do is list their passions and begin exploring them to find out more about who they are. Yes, they will need to work and earn money, but they can continue to uncover themselves while they work.
If you do not know your purpose or what you sincerely want to contribute to the world, start working on that now. Taking a personality assessment is a beautiful way to begin your journey. You can also speak with career advisors, as they can pull specifics out of you that you may not have realized about yourself.
Goal Setting Based on Your Why
Once you have defined your why, it will impact your goal setting. Without your why, you may drift aimlessly as a derelict ship. But clearly defining your why will help you make a plan to achieve it. Let’s talk about goal setting with SMART goals.
Many people create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) plans to help them achieve their why. Here’s an example–
S (Specific or your Why) To use my knowledge of school counseling and love of writing to create articles and blog posts teens can quickly read, understand and apply to help have an enjoyable high school experience.
M (measurable) – Write an article or blog post a week.
A (Attainable) – Yes, this goal is attainable
R (Relevant) – Address topics of today’s students
T (Time-bound)- In 1 year, I will have written 52 articles
SMART goals can change depending on why or what you want to accomplish. If you are in the process of creating plans, remember to put flexibility in them. As you grow from pursuing your why, your plans will also grow. Adapt, adjust, create new SMART goals, and focus on your next steps.
Not Others: The Power of Defining Your Own Why
There is great danger in allowing someone else to define your purpose. Let’s say, for example, a person’s family encouraged them to be an electrical engineer. But they were not particularly interested in that, nor were they the most diligent math student. If the person spent years trying to accomplish their family’s “purpose” for them, they would become resentful of their family and possibly their life.
If this same person followed their heart and wanted to conduct humanitarian work, they would be much happier. This is because the person defined themselves and chose what they wanted to do. The family may not like this, but the person has to do what is right for themselves. The person is the one who wakes up every day and looks at themselves in the mirror, not their family.
Your “why” is a defining aspect of who you are. The world needs successful people, like you. The best way to contribute is to learn all you can about yourself, stay focused and determine what your purpose is. Take the time to explore all your passions and find a “why” beyond more money and daily life.
In order for you to fulfill your purpose, the world needs you to be who you are. Trying to copy someone else or act like someone you’re not will only limit your contribution.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”– Steve Jobs