“WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”-Simon Sinek
“You gotta have a WHY! You gotta have a reason for why you do what you do!”-Eric Thomas
“A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”-Meister Eckhart
“Why?Why? Why?”-every 3 year old in the history of the world
I love Simon Sinek’s book (and the amazing ted.com talk) Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Simon discusses the core of purpose. He points out that so many companies (people) know their what (what they do), and sometimes their how (how they are different, how they do whatever it is they “do”), but few know WHY they do it, and if they do know their why, many times it’s the lowest priority of the three. He goes on to explain that we are totally working from the wrong side of the equation. Starting with WHY is exactly what is genius. It is also exactly WHY people care, why they listen and why they buy what you’re selling. Your WHY is your spirit. Your WHY is your inspiration. So what is your why? One of the best exercises to get to the root of this question is to pretend you are indeed a 3 year old… ask “why” over and over and you will get to the heart of it. If you say you want to be a gymnast…why? Because you like the sport…why? Because it is fun…why? Because I love to exercise…why? I feel alive inside when I run, jump, and I feel beautiful as I soar through the air… That is more like it. You love being a gymnast because it makes you feel alive. Pretty solid answer and a good foundation to start with (just so no one gets any ideas… I am NOT a gymnast, I can do a somersault, kinda, but that’s about the extent of it, my wife however, is an outstanding gymnast and can create a balance beam out of any line, anywhere, especially tennis court boundaries).
You have to know WHY you do what you do. Even more so, you need to know WHY you WANT to do anything. Even if you think you don’t know why you have the current job you have, there is a WHY there. There is a reason you get out of bed every single morning (or evening if that is your thing). Your current why may not be saving the world or protecting ladybugs who can’t protect themselves (or maybe that is exactly your why, I don’t really know), but you have a why. You have a reason (or many) that propels you from lying supine (face up, quick medical terminology for you, think of your hands… how do you carry a small bowl of soup? with your palm face up… carry soup face up…face up is supine. Face down is prone. I don’t have a cool moniker for that one…sorry) on your bed, turning off the alarm (or maybe hitting snooze a couple of times, then turning it off), and heading downstairs (or upstairs, or inside, you may have some kind of amazing tree-house bedroom in the jungle, again, I don’t want to type-cast everyone who is reading this book), and beginning your day.
Your why may still be in its infant form. It may be buried behind some false-hood, pretend whys like “I work to pay the bills” or “I have no other option” or “My mom made me get a job because I’m 52 and sleeping on her couch.” Regardless, those are surface “barely-whys.” There is a deeper driving force that lead you to your current situation/profession. It may take some digging and some “why…why…why?” asking until you are blue in the face, but you can and NEED to uncover the connection between what you are doing and WHY you are doing it. Even more important you need to discover the connection between what you are doing and the why that drives you, when you uncover the deeper why, it will lead you to more opportunities, growth and amazement. When you find that why, it will undoubtedly propel you forward (in your current career or in finding a new one that suits your purpose better).
Tony Robbins discusses 6 basic human needs and the idea of ‘working’ somehow actually is woven into quite a few of them. He states that every human has a basic human need to feel unique, significant/needed. He also states that we all have a need to feel connection with someone or something (or both). We have a need to grow/expand our capacity, capability or understanding and a need to contribute as in performing service and supporting others. (Check out the full article here: https://training.tonyrobbins.com/the-6-human-needs-why-we-do-what-we-do/). But the point is that work factors into quite a few of our basic needs. We have a basic need to work toward something, and as long as we connect the WHY of our souls to the WHAT that we do, we will be fulfilled.