I’ll admit, “living with purpose” and “finding your why” seem like idealistic notions with little hope of ever being achieved. Maybe they remind you of a bogus tarot card reading or some super-vague horoscope; “This day will be very eventful…”
You’re like, “Thanks for nothing,” right?
But here’s the thing: you actually can live life purposefully, as long as you live with your “why” in mind.
In order to remain motivated in life and work, you have to have a clear understanding of why what you’re doing is important. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, you’ll likely experience a serious lack of focus and personal investment.
This was me three years ago.
Personally, I hated my job. I was tired of the workplace drama, hated the company politics, and didn’t like relying on someone else to see my true value as an employee and individual. I wanted a way out of the rat race and creating an online retail business was my way to do that.
I also wanted to spend my days doing something I enjoyed and invest in my own future by pursuing a career with income potential I controlled.
I wanted a lot and I’ll tell you exactly how I got it: I started working from my “why” and you can too.
The most exciting thing about working from your “why” is that all the other pieces of the puzzle fall into place afterward. Many business owners tend to start with the “what” (usually a product), move to the “how” (marketing and selling), but never even consider the “why.” Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, demonstrates how this thinking is completely backwards in his Ted Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. The best business owners know that starting from “why” not only brings the “how” and “what” to fruition, but also makes living with purpose easy.
But What Do Good “Whys” Look Like?
Here are a few key elements that often make up successful “whys:”
· Passion-Based – “Whys” are often passion-based because passion drives motivation. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then you and your venture will suffer.
· Energizing – Tasks related to your “why” should leave you energized and ready to take on the world!
· Captivating – Have you ever looked up from a project and realized it’s much later than you thought? Working within your “why” generally keeps you very engaged, so much so that time simply flies by.
Some people’s’ “whys” are financial in nature, while other people are motivated by family or the desire for job freedom. There’s no such thing as a wrong “why,” as long as it motivates you to get up in the morning, be successful, and live the kind of life you’ve always wanted.
Finding Your “Why”
If you’re like me and want to start your own business, you’ll need a strong “why” to keep you motivated. Consider the following questions to help find yours.
- Are you looking for a way to make a little extra money on the side or do you want to build a new career?
- Do you enjoy working for others or prefer the freedom of creating your own schedule?
- Is your family dependent on you for financial support?
- Do you value financial gain more than public appreciation?
- What are you most passionate about in life?
- How do you want others to see you, both personally and professionally?
- What tasks make you feel like time has simple flown by?
- Who/what inspires you to get up in the morning?
Don’t feel like your “why” has to be extravagant or have some big, long reason behind it. Simple is good and keeping it concise will make it easier to remember when you need it.
Using Your “Why”
Unfortunately, in life not every day is filled with puppies and flowers. Sometimes things don’t go as planned or you hit bumps in the road along the way. When the going gets tough is when your “why” is most important. Having something concrete to help keep you moving forward despite hiccups is an absolute must.
In order for me to be comfortable leaving the “working world,” I knew I had to be successful on my own. So whenever I start to lose focus or second-guess myself, all I have to do is think about why I started down this path and I’m instantly re-motivated.