Finding Your WHY

Finding Your WHY

Finding your ‘WHY’ is an increasingly popular sentiment. One which I wholeheartedly agree with and, just for the record, I am a fan of Simon Sinek’s now mega-famous TED talk,

Just how popular is finding your ‘WHY’? Well, it is now part of a national media campaign for an investment bank. I think most people get the concept of finding your why and the related ideas like:

  • Do the things you are passionate about
  • Be true to yourself
  • Bring your whole self
  • Be authentic

I also think that most people believe in the benefits of finding your why; the most obvious one is that it will make you happy.

Yet how do you find your why and what if being happy is not what it is all about? I want to think about the pre-why work, meaning, how do most of us begin a conversation with ourselves that is beyond the influence of our upbringing, our family and friends, the media, cultural norms, etc.? How do you get to know yourself in a way that allows for the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ qualities, desires, and truths to come out in the open? And what if happiness is not a sustainable or even desirable goal?

Let’s start with getting to know yourself. In my experience, writing is one of the best ways to retrain the muscles of judgment, criticism, and self-doubt. Whether you want to call it journaling, documenting, or musings, it is the path of the path. Write down your thoughts each day for a specific length of time. 15 minutes is a recommendation from one of my favorite people, Sam Bennett, or for a specific number of pages. The Artist Way by Julia Cameron espouses a 3-page-a-day practice. Setting some type of parameter is important, especially as you begin because you are going to find all sorts of ways not to do this. Even though it is so simple, remember simple is not easy.

Next step, write without an agenda, no one is going to read this, do not worry about punctuation or grammar or spelling. This is going to be the exact opposite of every other type of writing you do every day. And, so for the rebels out there, think of this as one of the most anarchistic actions you can take every day. Imagine!

Step three, commit to the act of indulgence or anarchy. Commit to this experiment. Note, it is important to frame your daily writing in a context that is relevant to you. Commit to the writing for 65 days. I know most people might recommend 30 days. However, true habit forming usually takes more like 66 days on average. If you have hung with me this long, I consider you to be above average.

This is all for now. I will return to this topic and yes, happiness, soon for the next steps.