You need to know your “why.” Okay, so this isn’t news – you’ve heard this advice from numerous business books and motivational speakers. But what’s behind it, and how do you do it?
Knowing Why Your “Why” Matters
We make decisions every day: should I buy this or that, should I quit my job or stick it out?, should I binge watch another season of Lost (maybe that’s just me!)? We navigate countless crossroads, small and large, every day. The question is, what’s the compass we’re using to choose our direction? If you want to draw a straight line from where you are to where you want to be, you’ve got to know your “Why.”
Your “why” is that which drives you. Its core is purpose – a vision that propels you forward. Your “why” is composed of your desired outcomes, passions, and core values. And it’s often buried down deep; the roots beneath the tree.
Knowing How to Find Your “Why”
So far, I haven’t said anything revolutionary. But hang tight – we’re getting there! The important thing is not in knowing you need to know your “Why”…it’s knowing how on earth to find it.
The tool that will help you dig down deep to the roots of your purpose is a simple one word question: “Because?”. Applied in conversation, it goes like this: “ABC.” “Okay, because?” “DEF.” “Great! Because?” “GHI.” “Keep going. Because?” “JKLMNOP.” “Awesome!” You could do this for a really long time and find lots of layers of “Why’s,” but it usually only takes a few rounds of asking the because question to find what you’re looking for.
Making Your “Why” Statement
Let’s keep this simple. Remember when I said your “Why” consists of your desired outcomes, passions, and core values? Here’s an easy way to turn those three elements into a “why” discovery sentence: “I desire to see _____ happen (desired outcome), because I’m passionate about _____ (passion), because _____ is really important to me (core value), because _____ (your “why”).” As an example, here’s a “Why” statement from my own life: “I desire to be an excellent interpersonal communicator (desired outcome), because I’m passionate about connecting with others relationally (passion), because I deeply value helping people feel heard (core value), because that’s a key way that I can love my neighbor.” So in this example, my “why” for investing in growth in my communication abilities is because it’s an opportunity to care for my neighbor.
Now it’s your turn! What’s your “Why” for your work, your studies, etc.? Keep asking yourself the simple one-word question: “Because?” and fill in the blank until you’ve articulated what drives you. Then hit the road!