The Importance of Knowing Your Why
There is much excitement when we work with someone who can articulate their why. It provides them with a clear sandpit in their mind as to where they will play and where they won’t because they know what’s important to them. We’ve spoken previously about how life-changing this can be. But for a great many, it is either difficult to state their why or they are completely stumped when asked. A lot of people wonder what else could be out there for them. We simply ask, what do you want to be out there for you and why?
I had an encounter over 10 years ago with a senior executive, that remains in my mind to this day - let me tell you why…
We exchanged discussions about his background, experience and skills, before we naturally arrived at the question of purpose. I remember asking, “So, what fulfills you at work?” This was met with noticeable pause. I noticed a visibly uncomfortable shift in his facial expression as he pondered a response; in two minds about sharing the truth and being considered an attractive candidate for the role in question.
Finally, he leaned forward and looked me straight in the eye, confessing, “Eric, I know I am very good at what I do, I get exceptional results for the companies I work for, I am considered to be very successful; I have a great job that pays well and I am highly respected by my colleagues. But I wake up every single morning and know that I was not born to be doing this. I am not fulfilled in my job. And I feel completely guilty and selfish for even having these thoughts as I know how fortunate I am compared to so many others.”.
What this demonstrated to me was that it doesn’t matter what your seniority, the size of your pay check, or any external validations are - if you don’t feel like you’re living in line with your purpose then there is inevitably a sense of being unfulfilled.
We All Have Multiple Purposes in Life
I have read so many pieces about finding one’s purpose and how it contributes to a happier and more fulfilled life, but I recently came across a piece that really struck a chord and that offers up another perspective. This is that most of us have multiple purposes in life rather than one earth-shattering, higher order calling.
Personally,I find purpose in being a great dad, as awesome a husband as I can be, and in helping others on their life’s journey which my vocation has me doing. To say I have one guiding light might be a step too far, though I can say with certainty that the reason why I do what I do, is that I enjoy and am passionate about helping others realise their potential, whatever their version of that is. I find what I do meaningful and I feel honoured that I can do it, whether it be professionally or personally.
One learning over my years that I want to share is that your purpose or perhaps what you find purpose in, may in fact change over time, and that’s okay. Your responsibility is to be in tune with yourself to pivot and change if you need to.
Don’t Be a Negative Nancy!
I don’t get why people wouldn’t want to understand what makes them tick and work on how they could expand their lives to embrace it. There’s always the “Negative Nancy’s” out there (sorry to all those people called Nancy for such a stereotype 😂) who will say “that’s all well and good for some, but I don’t know what my purpose is” or “I don’t have a purpose”. At the other end of the spectrum, are those saying “I know what makes me tick, but I can’t make a living out of it”. With each negative statement, you have a choice... a choice to explore further rather than shutting it down. If you shut it down, that’s okay - you’ll just keep living the life you’re living, though if you choose to be open… just start by asking yourself 5 simple questions:
● What matters to me?
● What are the things I am good at?
● What and who inspires me?
● What don’t I need reminding to do?
● What am I doing when I’m at my happiest?
You ultimately have a choice. You only get one life, so why wouldn’t you take steps to make it count even more!
Eric and the Clear Search Team