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

http://switchandshift.com/

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.

468 ad
24 comments
MJJathish
MJJathish

Awesome observations.. Points noted :-)

I agree, anything we want to be, has to come from within.

Points can be real pointers to that.. A Spark..

@mjjathish

nischala.murthy
nischala.murthy

Nicely put... I do believe the ultimate purpose of life for each is to be happy... And we all get happiness by doing different things.. and the sooner one figures out what makes him / her happy, the more fulfilling is your life..
Also, Balance is key for a happy life..
Do read my post on Balance in Life @ http://nipmu.blogspot.com/2010/12/balance-in-life.html

PegFitzpatrick
PegFitzpatrick moderator

Beautiful and inspiring Shawn, as always. What are your dreams is such a GREAT question!! If you don't have a plan, where are you going?

I'll be thinking about this...thanks for that!

Peggy

change_anything
change_anything

@careerintell Good question! We invite you to look at our career assessment tool for people who are trying to change bad work habits....

girlygrizzly
girlygrizzly

Shawn, Great post! Very to the point and I am adding it to my "My Journey" binder.(You are in VERY good company!) I'm off to answer all these great points. Thank you again!

~Amber-Lee

DixieLil
DixieLil

@shawmu Very inspiring post. I'll bet if everyone looked inward and asked themselves, "why", the next question would be , "when?"

profkrg
profkrg

I love this post, Shawn! You had me at "I’m of the mindset that when I die I want to be exhausted." I love that you included great outside resources and practical tips for determining your true passion/purpose. Excellent!

Latest blog post: Dow Jones Offers Internships

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

I want to know WHY you are so wise for one so young?

ThinDifference
ThinDifference

Another great one, Shawn! I, too, want to be exhasted in the end, and point number 8 may be one of the keys. Too often, we fall into the trap of just doing what everyone else is, without really thinking it through. We need to stir things up a little and find our why... Thanks! Jon

shawmu
shawmu

@nischala.murthy How great it is that we get to pursue answering the question what brings happiness.

shawmu
shawmu

@girlygrizzly Amber Lee, I'm honored to be part of such an important book and body of work. I wish you great insights in your journey.

shawmu
shawmu

@DixieLil Fantastic point, Dixie. And followed by "when" is "What's next" and "How will I make it happen?"

shawmu
shawmu

@profkrg Kenna, here's to exhaustion driven by purpose, passion!

shawmu
shawmu

@BruceSallan@brucesallan Bruce, I've always surrounded myself with people smarter, faster, spiritual, and more driven than me. I'm in great company with people like you. I watch and learn. =)

shawmu
shawmu

@ThinDifference@thindifference Jon, the song from Eminem's movie 8 Mile, "Lose Yourself" sums it up nicely: Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment Would you capture it or just let it slip? There's no letting this life slip away.

dbvickery
dbvickery

@shawmu@DixieLil

I like my "Why", Shawn...and I think you did a great job explaining how to go about finding it. I also liked these follow-up questions that both you and Dixie brought up.

BrandFlair
BrandFlair

@shawmu@guitarfreak Well how do you find a picture for a post with the main topic of "Why." There were some OK pics, but this one just stuck out and I liked the idea of driving down the lonely highway of life and coming across a place to pull over and find your Why. Looks like you can get snacks while you are there too. Woot!

Adsense