We rarely set off in a car without having an idea of where we are going; a waste of fuel, time, and money. It’s the same with career planning. Without an end goal, it’s very easy to get lost or waste time on the wrong path. However, without knowing our Why, it’s still easy to grind to a halt. People who know their purpose in life are unstoppable.
When I work with clients, it’s not just about establishing their career goal. The very first thing we do is get to the root of what truly motivates them, and why. Having a strong why will keep that goal interesting, and help them through the toughest times on the journey.
Why Finding Your Why is Important
‘Having a job that we love is a right, not a privilege.’
1. Helps You Understand What Motivates You
To find your why, you need to get to know yourself first and foremost. Learning more about what motivates you helps you understand your own unique belief system, what you are most drawn to and where your passions lie. Too many people spend most of their lives comparing themselves to others or following the herd; owning your goals is easy once you know your why.
2. Makes Sure You Create Goals that Excite You
Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living. In Japanese culture, the work-life balance concept “Ikigai” is often associated with a Venn diagram with four overlapping qualities: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Although there is no word for it in English, it loosely translates as ‘what gets you in the morning and keeps you going.’
3. Generates Momentum
Motivation is unreliable without discipline, and is especially hard to maintain without passion. That why’s you need your Why. Your Why is the list of reasons that resonate with you as to why you’re doing something, that spark of passion, and it makes sure that you don’t lose sight of your goals.
‘My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.’
4. Provides Clarity in Your Life
Finding your why gives you clarity about who you are and what you want. When you don’t know why you are doing something, it is harder to commit. When you feel unclear about your goal, it’s harder to achieve it. Finding your why helps you create a clear goal that motivates you, meaning you will be much less likely to waste time or get distracted. You will make better choices about where you work and what you do, because you know why you do it.
‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive’
- Maya Angelou
5. It’s Good for Your Mental Health
According to the 2017 study by Deloitte, 84% of employees have experienced physical, psychological, or behavioural symptoms of poor mental health where work was a contributing factor. Understanding your own personal “why”—what drives you to do what you do—is an important component of overall well-being and mental health in your career, especially as we spend one third of our lives at work.
6. Helps You Connect
Our why is linked to our values, and really understanding and being able to articulate our own motivations helps us connect and network with others who share our core beliefs. It also helps us to be confident to listen to different views without feeling threatened.
Your Why is not about making money, it’s your beliefs, your purpose, and why you do what you do. Best-selling author of ‘Start with Why', Simon Sinek created the concept of the “Golden Circle of Why, How, What”, stating that “people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
At The Bedrock Program, we work with our clients to find their purpose, through identifying what motivates them and why; it’s not just about what people think, it’s what they feel.
Everyone dreams of having a highly successful career they truly enjoy. Finding your Why is the first step to setting the goals that make it happen. People who know their purpose in life know who they are, what they are, and why they are.
Which brings me back to where I started and my Why for this article:
People who know their purpose in life are unstoppable