We tend to go about our goals focused on what and how. What do we need to do to make it happen? And how do we get there? But most of what we do in life is underpinned by three things. What, how, and why. The first two seem easy, and I’d argue take up most of our thinking time. The last one, not so much. Explaining why we do things is difficult for two reasons. One, defining your why takes effort, and two, we do a lot of things without even questioning it. It’s easy to go about our day on autopilot, never questioning our habits or actions because they’ve been apart of us for so long – even if some do more harm than good.
Finding your why
When I talk about finding your purpose, some will think it’s woo woo kind of stuff, and you’ll need to go to a retreat in Bali, or India to find it. But it’s much simpler than that. It comes down to asking yourself the right questions. What brings me joy? What does success look like for me? And on top of that why?
When we have a clear list of things that truly makes us tick, we start to fine-tune our expectations and step away from the ones society sets upon us. Finding your why gives meaning to goals and actions. It’s what kicks in and gives us momentum when motivation is low and it’s what keeps us moving in the direction we want to head.
Without unpacking what you love doing and why, it’s easier to compare your life to others. Now I like social media and believe it’s a valuable platform. However, it’s an easy place to compare. So, when we don’t define what happiness or success looks like for our lives, it’s easy to use other people’s benchmarks to measure up against. For example, you could be having the best day but then someone puts up a photo of their new car, holiday, or promotion, and just like that you instantly compare your situation to theirs. But what if cars, holidays, and being CEO aren’t what’s important to you? Then why compare? Someone will always seem more successful or happier if you haven’t defined what those things look like for you. When you know what brings you joy you’re less likely to waste time seeking out things that seem to bring it to others. Goalposts will always shift if you’re not the one setting them.
So, find out who you are, find out who you’re not. Find out what makes you happy but most importantly find your why. Life’s filled with opportunities but not all of them are destined for us- be ok with that. Weed out the things that don’t feed the person you are because once you’ve done that, you’re left with so many that do.