12 Most Purposeful Ways To Uncover Your Why

12 Most Purposeful Ways To Uncover Your Why

Our time on Earth is short. I’m of the mindset that when I die I want to be exhausted. I want to be exhausted because I created work that evolves from my Why.

My Why is the reason for my work, my relationships. It is the heart to my passions. It guides my decisions. Learning my Why didn’t happen overnight. It’s the culmination of successes and failures.

The fruitful search to uncover your Why is best propelled by believing that you are not the center of the world. Any other belief will lead you down challenging paths that won’t uncover your why. Such a search will provide invaluable lessons, however. A lesson that I had to learn.

Uncovering your Why is the heart that gives life to how you show up in this world, in your work, and in your relationships. These 12 items can help uncover your Why.

1. Identify your personal values

Most of us have a sense of our personal values. They exist in thoughts in our heads. When you take the time to name them, they become tangible, not ethereal.

2. Define your personal values

Next step after identifying your values is to define them. Again, to name them makes them real. Definitions make them personal.

3. Identify your strengths

When we can apply what we’re good at to our work and in our life, we can experience meaning. Strengths and meaning are powerful triggers to uncover your why. Tools like Strengths Finders and Kolbe Index are great to uncover strengths.
LINKS: STRENGTHS FINDER http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx
LINKS: KOLBE INDEX http://www.kolbe.com/

4. List what inspires you

Dismantling what your Why is can be daunting. Where do you start? Look at what inspires you: movies, music, books, events you attend or want to attend, famous speeches, social movements. Identify what about these items inspires you.

5. Evaluate your meaningful relationships

The relationships that have the deepest meaning to me are with those who define the space in which they leave. These relationships push me to define my space. To live life purposefully inspires me. The depths of this inspiration is core to my Why.

6. Spiritual Beliefs/Faith

If you hold spiritual beliefs or have a strong faith, it’s a powerful source for identifying your Why. It’s also the most powerful teacher showing you how and why selfless living is critical for uncovering your Why.

7. Look at your successes and failures

Our performance teaches us a lot about who we are. When you succeed, what were the elements that led to such an outcome? When you failed, what happened? What should you duplicate? What should you avoid next time? In the successes and failures are patterns and themes. What do they tell you about what your Why might be?

8. Are you fed up with the status quo?

Sometimes being pushed to the point of being fed-up with the way things are reveals our mettle. Such insights show us what we’re made of. Look at what you are unhappy with. Look at why you are willing to stand up to a demanding reality. In there could be your Why.

9. Volunteer

Giving your time to a charity/non-profit that is doing something to make this world a better place for a group of people is Why-rich. Charities/non-profits are proclamations for something good, that take us outside our needs.

10. Who seeks you out?

Look at why people seek you out. Look at why they enlist your support, your voice, your skill. Often we don’t see our own talents. We don’t see how our strengths are manifestations of what our Why might be.

11. Get a mentor

Picking up from #10, getting a mentor who is strong in areas where you want to develop can shine a light into blind spots into who you are, even what you’re good at.

12. What are your dreams?

We all have dreams. Look at the dreams that don’t include acquiring material possessions. What do they reveal? Perhaps you dream of a world without human sex-trafficking. Perhaps you dream of adopting. Buried below these hopes could be your Why.

Knowing your Why is key to living fully in this world. It generates vitality. It leads to exhaustion – in a good way.

Shawn Murphy


Shawn Murphy is founder and president of Achieved Strategies. He works with organizations helping leaders bring out the best in their people during times of change and through leadership development. His purpose is to help organizations restore optimism in the workplace and to work with leaders to lead in the 21st century. When not working, he blogs at Switch and Shift on topics to help leaders inspire optimism and New Era Leadership. He’s a coffee addict. Music fiend. Dry humorists. Movie junkie. Wannabe painter/artist. He’s working on his first book.

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