When I first met Tricia, I was instantly drawn to her for her enthusiasm, extreme candor, and take charge attitude. She calls a spade a spade and isn’t afraid to piss people off along the way. She stands for what she believes in, and is funny and beautiful to boot.
We recently met for breakfast and were discussing our businesses and where we hope to take them this year. When I asked her what her goals were, she floundered in her response, and finally stated, “You know, I sign up for all of these entrepreneurship and mastermind classes to help me figure this stuff out, and then I drop out of them or don’t finish. I’m afraid I’m going to prove to myself that I’m not capable of success, and that nothing I’m doing is going to go anywhere.”
Wow. I couldn’t believe my ears. Although I was amazed at my friend’s ability to call herself out, she was the last person from whom I would expect to hear this.
I thought for a minute, and asked her, “Why do you do the work you do?”
She stared at me blankly, and said, “I’m not sure.”
I then told her about Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why, and online course where one can discover their “why.” In short, he proposes that discovering your “why” – or knowing WHY you do what you do – is the foundation to feeling fulfilled and happy at work.
She then floored me once again, “I’m worried I don’t have a Why.”
Yeah. I heard her. I felt the same way for a long time.
Your “why” is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do. It isn’t WHAT you do, it is the motivation, the inspiration, the drive behind it. It isn’t an easy question to answer. It’s easy to get caught up and confused by your thoughts and the WHAT of your everyday that you lose sight of the very things that inspire you.
Even so, we ALL have a why. Even the cashier at your local 7-Eleven, the bartender serving up your favorite cocktail, and the doorman of your office building have Whys. Unfortunately, many of us do work that doesn’t address or feed our Why, and so, many of us are unhappy and unfulfilled.
After watching Simon Sinek’s TED talk about this very topic, I knew I had to uncover my Why. And, when I did, things started to become really clear. I am more at peace with the work I do, and don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone. Even the tedious work I don’t typically enjoy has greater meaning to me, and I see that it serves a purpose.
So, if you aren’t happy with your job, it might be time to unearth your Why. How? You can do it in a variety of ways:
- Watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk
- Take the Learn Your Why online course
- Work with me (I went through the Learn Your Why course to become a facilitator so I could help others uncover their Why. I believe THAT much in its power.)
Imagine, waking up every morning, feeling good about the workday ahead. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Now it’s your turn. Do you know your Why? Have you watched the TED Talk or taken the class? Share your Why in the comments below, or tell us what you struggle with.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Be sure to share with others so they benefit, as well.