It is very easy in this day of social media and the busy noise that is all around us to forget why we do what we do. Sometimes it’s important to check in and remember why.
If you don’t know why you do what you do, how do you know which way to go? What are your goals? How will you ever get there if you don’t know where you are going?
Much like when the school project was due the next day when you were a kid and you decided to clean you room before you did it (Mum was surprised), it’s oh so easy to procrastinate or get distracted by the shiny things around us and forget the ‘why’.
There are, like most things, a few different angles on the why.
There is the place that we all get to when we are busy bustling (alliteration is magical really) and we get so busy doing stuff that we forget why. Why do we do this job, run this company, sell these products or whatever it may be?
There must be a reason that we took the job in the first place. What was it about it that interested us so much way back when?
Beyond religious connotations, a life purpose is simply your life’s message. It is the message you wish to drive, and sometimes wander around, in the world during your time on Earth.
It is your why! Why you get up in the morning and do what you do.
What if you don’t know your why?
Another way to look at it is, if you don’t know what it is that drives you, where will the journey end up?
As Stephen Covey, who wrote a bunch of very cool books, once said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Life gets easier
Trying to work out your why isn’t easy, but if you can work it out and live an authentic life, on purpose, something really cool happens. It gets easier. You move away from toxic people and situations that aren’t lined up with your purpose. And you take actions to move towards your goals – which you can be clear about as you now know why.
For me, probably like most people, it’s a multifaceted why. The internal aspect of my why is one that drives me. I know I am here to let everyone know that you can succeed without it being at the expense of others. Or, in other words, it’s not weak to be kind. And I know that I get my bucket filled up when I am of service to others.
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” – Stephen Covey
I know it inside me; it’s in my bones, my core values, my moral compass. And it guides my every action.
It’s true, you can be kind and excel – and this means being kind to yourself as well. It’s actually OK to not be hard and stoic all the time.
People can see through the BS
The other benefit to knowing your purpose, which makes sense seeing we spend our life in constant interaction with other humans – is the external aspect of it – the way other people perceive you.
There was a time, not long ago, when your personal brand was power, but the thing is, like some of the best pieces of fiction ever written, it wasn’t always true.
The Photoshopped profile picture and the fluffed up bio – it’s like the difference between the picture of the hamburger on the poster and what you get in the pack – you can’t bullshit anyone any more. People can see through it.
Being passionately authentic, and on purpose, makes a much more effective story than bullshit – because it’s the truth. You know it, and others can tell the difference.
Same goes for your products or services – I recently flew with a budget airline; their tagline is ‘Low fares, good times”. I had an expectation of funky young staff, good service and smiles from the perception I had from their communications. It didn’t take long for me to see through the bluster to the reality of surly staff, poor service and very little “good times”.
If they were being authentic, their communications should have been – we try, sometimes, not very hard though, and we are pissed off about it.
The point is, some pony tail wearing, sports-car driving marketing guy came up with some of that. It hasn’t come from inside – it’s not real, nor is it authentic.
Our purpose doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to our jobs. But it often is, as this is what we spend a lot of our lives doing. And sometimes it is how we are defined.
Now for the real nugget of the story – if you live with purpose, authentically – wait for it – not only will the toxic situations and people around you recede into the rear view mirror like you are doing 120km/h on the freeway, it allows you to manifest more of the things you want with the amazing energy that comes from being connected, on purpose and authentic.
And the best bit of all is that you are happier. Let’s face it; if we have one true purpose, one goal in life, it should be to be happy.
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