Finding ‘Why’

Where do I start? That is a question I hear all too often then talking to potential clients. We all know we want to make changes in our lives but it all seams so overwhelming. Where do you start? Ready for this…there is no right answer. Where you start depends on you.  We are all unique individuals and honoring your individuality is most important especially when identifying developmental goals (in life or business).

Taking action with purpose assumes you know your purpose. How many people really know their purpose? I have many clients that struggle with this one thing.  As Viktor Frankle wrote: ” you can handle any what if you know the why”  How do you find your ‘why?’

Here’s how. Take action. Yes, I know that sounds contradictory but to discover your why you need to experience things. you need to discover your why through action. You can not find it in a book or movie or on page 42 of your favorite novel. You will, however discover it through trial and error. Consider this a science experiment. Do one thing and then document how you felt about it. Did it excite you? Did you loose track of time? Did you end the event with energy or totally drained. Then try another thing and another. You will discover as much from the things you don’t like as you do from the things that give you energy.

Need a more descriptive and structured approach? Here are three steps to getting started in finding your why:

Step 1: Excavate your past – become an anthropologist. Your subject is your own life. As Soren Kierkegaard once said “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” So in this step I challenge you to venture into your past and look for clues to your passion, your ‘why.’ One warning: the past is gone and you should not dwell there. It is only a tool to help you understand and learn about yourself. What is it that you are looking for in your past? Look at your accomplishments, your relationships, your choices. Do not judge what has already passed. Simply look at it from a anthropologist’s point of view. What was the life of ‘you’ like?

Step 2: Uncover your present – become a detective.  Examine your daily habits. Observe the details of your life as it is today. Look at your books, the music you choose, the movies you watch, the colors in your home, your clothes, pictures on the walls, how you ‘spend’ your time, who you spend your time with, what thoughts fill your head? Is there a trend?

Step 3: Discover your values. Ultimately what you are looking for are the things that are signification to you – your values. Your personal journey as an anthropologist and a detective has now brought you to the philosopher’s robe.  Become the philosopher of your life.  Sift through the information from  steps 1 and 2. Do you see patterns?

Your ‘why’ is what gives you inspiration, passion, and meaning in everything that you do.  Discovering your ‘why’ is not something that takes an afternoon, a weekend, or even a year. There is no right answer and there is no right time-frame. It takes as long as it takes. One thing is certain – you can not find your ‘why’ if you do not search for it. Have you found your ‘why?’ Are you searching for your ‘why?’ What have you done today to either find or support your ‘why?’