What makes me tick?
What gets me out of bed in the morning?
What is my purpose in life?
These questions are snippets of what I heard the other day when catching up with a group of inspiring, talented, and driven individuals, all of whom were there for the same purpose – to discover their why. The thing is it’s not just these women having a coffee before work that are pondering their why, it is something I hear people agonise over on a daily basis.
We are moving toward the age of fulfilment, where the desire to have more meaningful jobs, relationships, and lifestyles is a priority we can afford to have. Yes, we still need to pay the mortgage but we can also satisfy our hunger to do more than simply make a living and pay the expenses.
So, what makes finding your why feel so difficult to do?
The majority of people find they don’t have a clear direction and are drifting from one thing to the next trying to uncover their why. Often they are left feeling frustrated and generally deflated when the answer is not clear. The reason we feel this way is because we spend a lot of time talking about wanting to lead a more purposeful and meaningful life but not taking any action, or we end up rushing into things that don’t truly satisfy us.
Discovering your why is not a simple formula we can copy and paste.
If we don’t consciously think about what drives us we will settle for the lowest meaning we can find, or worst get swept up in what other people want. Writing this reminded me of the quote from the film ‘Holiday’ – “You end up playing the role of the best friend, not the leading lady.”
So, what can we do to stop the frustrating cycle we fall into when finding our why?
The first step is to identify your values. Whether you are aware of them or not, we all have values we live by. Values are what are most important to us and determine what we will or won’t stand for. By identifying what your key values are you will develop a sense of inner drive and certainty around what you want out of life. You won’t feel pressured to find that one thing that defines you, instead you will be open to receiving and looking out for an array of opportunities that align with who you truly are.
Over the next week take some time to reflect on the following few questions and develop a list of your key values:
Throughout your life when have you felt fulfilled and happy?
- What were you doing? Who were you with?
- What was it specifically that made you feel this way?
- What needs or desires of yours were being met?
- When were you most proud of yourself?
- What was it specifically that made you feel proud?
- Did others contribute to and/or share in your pride? If so who?
Look through your answers and ask yourself ‘What did I get from these experiences?’ – you will start to see some common themes come through e.g. I learnt something new, I was challenged, I developed great connections with people, I received status etc…
By jotting these down, you will have started creating a list of values. How do these values make you feel? Do they represent things you would stand up for and support, even if you were the minority? Is there anything missing that you would like to add in?
I could talk forever on this subject, so I will leave it here for today. Enjoy taking some time out for yourself and reflecting on your values. I can’t wait to hear all about it!