How to unpack your ‘why’

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Helen Hanison

Discovering your "why" can radically change the course of your career (and life) for the better. We all feel more alive and aligned when what we do expresses what matters most. And once you have that clarity, you can hold on to it tight as you build forward.

Not only will your "doing" be more motivated, but crucially, knowing why you’re doing the thing you do means setbacks won’t set you back. Because when we know our "why," we become unstoppable in the best possible, purpose-driven way!

There are many avenues to explore when it comes to unpacking your life's purpose. Unfortunately, though, nobody else can find this thing that drives you. And the truth is it’s not really "out there" - it’s more likely hiding in plain sight within your real life. And unique from literally anyone else's, it's a mission that you - and only you - can complete.

Although it's not the same as doing your discovering on your own, more times than not, some support and objectivity helps us craft our "why" quicker than we will on our own. Which is the fundamental point! Your why - your purpose - is a direction and a pursuit, but not a destination.

[Related: You Cannot be Derailed…Only Slowed Down]

1) Write about how you feel – really.s your days play out, write about what you wanted to happen but didn’t, and what you want to get out of what you do. Remember to express your thoughts exactly as they come to you!

2) Follow your curiosity.If you don’t know how to answer questions about what you’re passionate about, just notice when you engage in activities that are personally meaningful to you, give you energy, or that see you lose track of time.

3) Consider your signature strengths.And their weakness! Do think about the areas in which you naturally excel – but may take for granted – then apply a little healthy skepticism to assess whether these support your personal needs and wants, or someone else’s.

Puzzle at how you could point your skillset at something that is also meaningful for you.

4) Collect conversations with inspiring people.While you might not be interested in the same things, or operate in the same professional lane, you can still talk (on or offline) about how others arrived at their career vision.

As you become a collector of compelling conversations, you’ll start to draw parallels with the essential nature of work that fills these admired people with meaningfulness as they live a fully-expressed life. And their triumphs and struggles will make great lessons for you in your mission to activate your own purpose.

[Related: Replace Limiting Beliefs With Success Stories]

5) What brings you joy?Reflect on the moments when you're most alive and totally absorbed in flow. What are you doing at these times?

This spark of aliveness is one of the single biggest clues in your quest to figure out what to do with this life of yours.

6) Embrace change.Sometimes the thing that holds you back from self-discovery is a fear of change.

There's comfort and safety in not taking risks, but you also may never discover what you want to do with your life. Learn to recognize that resistance for what it is and remind yourself that it could hold you stuck.

7) Uphold your values.Everyone has a set of values, but not many people knowingly operate by them. There are undeniable alarm bells when we don’t adhere to our core values, which can help us retro-fit what they are and how to live into them more consciously.

Make a list of your values – the things that you stand for or trigger anger or upset when they’re violated. Think about what you can do to honor those values every day.

Finding your "why" may not be as hard as you think. Use these seven strategies on your mission this week and one day soon you'll realize that you've found the one feature of your life that makes everything worthwhile.

Once you’ve determined the driving force behind why you want to do the work you love, you will employ your strengths and drive them intentionally toward work that is fulfilling.

 

Forbes