Know Your Purpose - What's Your Why?
“He who has a why can endure any how.”
- Frederick Nietzche
Knowing your purpose, your “Why” is an important first step in choosing the goals that excite you and creating a life you enjoy. Otherwise, your goals are just "want to have” or “nice to have”, and you will not put in the effort and commitment to achieving them. Only when you know your “Why” will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding path.
Leadership expert Simon Sinek believes this is important not only for individuals, but for organisations as well. In his popular TED Talk, he encourages all organisations to “Start With Why". You can watch his presentation on YouTube, which has had more than 25 million views.
There isn’t just one way to discover your life's purpose, but you can start by gaining deeper insight into yourself and a broader perspective on what you have to offer the world.
Use the four questions below to discover what you most care about, what you can contribute, and what others will value most from that contribution.
1. What makes you come alive?
The word “inspire” comes from the Latin, meaning “to breathe life into”. When you are working toward things that inspire you, you literally feel more alive. This is about connecting with your passion, knowing that when you focus your attention on a venture that puts a fire in your belly, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can. It’s also about connecting to a cause that’s bigger than you but is also congruent with you.
2. What are your strengths?
What are the things you’ve always excelled at? For example:
- Are you able to see patterns and opportunities amidst complexity?
- Are you creative, naturally adept at coming up with “outside the box” solutions?
- Are you a born rebel with an innate ability to identify where the status quo needs a makeover?
- Are you brilliant at details, naturally good at executing projects with a precision that some find tedious?
- Are you a naturally gifted communicator, diplomat, networker, leader, problem solver, or change agent?
People in their element are not only more productive, but also add more value and enjoy more personal and professional fulfilment.
3. Where do you add value?
Know your greatest strengths and where you can add the most value by applying your education, skills, knowledge, and experience. This can help you focus on the roles, opportunities, and career paths where you are most likely to succeed, and therefore find the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution.
We often undervalue our strengths, skills, and the expertise we naturally acquire over time. Reframe the concept of adding value through the lens of solving problems, and ask yourself where you are well-placed and well-equipped to solve problems in your workplace, career, organisation, or industry.
You won't find fulfilment by doing work you loathe, even if you’re good at it. So also ask yourself what problems you really enjoy solving – and are perhaps even passionate about solving.
When you know where you add value – and like doing it – you’ll be more successful at building your natural strengths than trying to eliminate your weaknesses.
4. How will you measure your life?
Decide how you want to measure your life, and how you want to be remembered when you die.
Take a stand for something, and then live your life in alignment with it. People who don't stand for something fall for anything. Knowing your purpose compels you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you. When you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do.
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Posted by Tracey Sofra at November 11, 2016