Finding Your “Why”: 3 Tricks for Getting Clear on Your Purpose
It’s tempting to stare longingly at people who have “made it,” and attempt to uncover their “secret strategies.”
However, sometimes the best way to succeed is by fixating less on the “how” and more on the “why.”
When you get clear on your purpose, the game changes. You’re more focused and efficient with your time. You’ll take calculated risks, and begin making every decision with the end goal in mind.
Need help finding your “why?” Start by asking yourself these three questions.
What lights a spark in you?
You may have been a straight-A student, and an especially quick learner. You might be a hard worker, and a pro at time management.
The truth is, none of that matters without passion.
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that I was meant to be a writer.
Learning to read and write before most of my classmates, I spent hours in my playroom creating hand-made picture books with my grandfather’s leftover office paper. (Sadly, I wasn’t nearly as skilled in the art department.)
Eventually, I progressed to crafting “novels” on Microsoft Word. Emulating the writing style of Judy Blume, I captured scandalous love triangles that were slightly ahead of my time.
I also “worked” as a part-time journalist, cutting out celebrity photos from my mom’s magazines and writing made-up interviews. (There also may have been song lyrics in my Pokemon notebook, but we’ll save that for another time.)
The point is, I was obsessed with writing. I fell behind on my passion during the pressures of high school and the drunken fiasco of college, but I found my way back.
Today, writing is everything to me. Every personal situation is a potential story. Every learning experience is a prospective resource for my blog.
I’m not even bullshitting you when I say that I actually experience a “high” from writing, and that’s because I genuinely love it.
So when it comes to finding your “why,” think about what brings you excitement. Think about an activity that you find yourself constantly daydreaming about, and always puts you in a better mood.
Forget about being practical and money-minded for a moment, and focus on where you’re in your element.
Owning your passion can get tricky, but keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. A career coach is trained to provide that much-needed clarity, and can help you meet or exceed your goals faster than most can on their own.
Once you find it, that “happy place” serves as your designated sweet spot for staying confident and optimistic toward your ability to succeed.
What are your unique strengths?
After identifying your passion, it’s time to capitalize on your natural strengths. Here, it’s important to get extra strategic.
Writing has always been a strength of mine. I would consistently knock my essays out of the park, while discreetly forging my parents’ signatures on math tests. #Balance
During my anxiety-ridden post-college job search, all I knew was that I wanted to “do something with writing.”
Unbeknownst to my 22-year-old self, positioning yourself as a “good writer” isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.
After reflecting on some sporadic blogging I did my senior year of college, I realized that I excelled in creating conversational yet informative content.
I began to focus on owning this unique voice through articles for online publications. While I still had ways to go in terms of understanding my “why,” I was setting foot on the right track.
When it comes to identifying your strengths, determine where you naturally excel. Then, take it one step further and figure out what distinguishes you from the rest.
This self-reflection process can take time, so make sure to be patient with yourself.
How do you measure success?
Countless people strive to be successful, but many struggle to describe how they envision it. To answer this, think about what you want to be known for or remembered by.
After getting published in a few publications, I began to feel stuck. I felt that I had reached my initial goal, and was confused on where to turn or what to focus on next.
Had I exhausted the thrill of writing once and for all?
Eventually, I realized that recognition wasn’t the end game – it was just a piece of the puzzle.
I learned that my overarching “why” is making an impact. Through my words, I aim to inspire movement, teach lessons, and ultimately influence action.
Once I gained clarity of my purpose, I was able to establish better control over my priorities and corresponding tactics.
I learned the value of working intentionally, keeping my primary objective top-of-mind.
When you establish your “why,” your journey simply starts to make more sense.
While challenges are bound to pop up from time to time, your “why” serves as a friendly reminder that it’s all worth it.