The Power of Purpose: 5 Questions to Help You Find Your “Why”
What is your why? This is such a powerful question to ask. It is easy to get so caught up in what we are doing and how we do it day in and day out that we forget to ask the one question that will lead to our success (even personal happiness). Why do we do it?
If you had a chance to quiz some of the most successful world leaders and business owners, you would likely discover that their actions are focused around supporting their why. A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, compels you to take risks and push forward against all odds. If you know your why, you can figure out any how.
Discovering your why takes time. There is no surefire exercise or one pathway to find your life’s purpose. But there are a few questions you can ask that will help you gain deeper insight into yourself and a larger perspective on what you have to offer the world around you.
Answering the following five questions will help you start identifying your why:
- What lights your fire?
Think back to when you were a child, before the societal pressures that come with adulthood. Was there a trend in the activities you were passionate about? If you knew you would not fail and money was not an issue, what would you be doing right now? These activities are where your passion lies. When you are working towards goals that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive because your time and energy is dedicated to something bigger than yourself. When you are connected with your purpose, your endeavors will grow your impact and influence in a way that nothing else can.
- What are your innate strengths?
In The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Ken Robinson explains that our element is the point in which our natural talent and skill meets personal passion. When you are centered in your element, you are more productive, add more value and enjoy more (personal and professional) fulfillment. Are you a naturally gifted leader, communicator or problem solver? Can you identify patterns and opportunities amidst chaos? When people come to you for help, what do they ask of you? Identifying the combination of strengths, skills, knowledge and natural talent that is unique to you will lead to greater all-around performance and fulfillment.
- Where can you add the greatest value?
Take a moment to reflect upon the things in life you desire to pass on to future generations. Is there something in particular you feel able to teach other people about – something you can contribute to the world beyond yourself? If given the chance, how would you want to improve other people’s lives? Is there currently a gap in knowledge you believe you can fill? Ask yourself, what are you currently well placed and equipped to solve. At the same time, identify the type of problems you enjoy solving. When you achieve the feeling of really making a difference in the world or in someone else’s life, you have likely found your purpose.
- What are you willing to go the extra mile for?
Many people are passionate about more than one thing in their life. As time goes on and seasons of life change, those passions might come and go. Your true passion – the passion linked with your purpose – is the thing you would be willing to go the extra mile for. Regardless of challenges and setbacks, you would be willing to try and try again. Despite the unknown, you would strive for excellence. You would simply view each failure as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you question whether you would really want to go out of your way to do something, you are likely not truly passionate about it.
- What do you want to be remembered for?
This is a tough question; the kind of question that can leave you deep in thought for hours. Ask yourself, if you found out you only had a year to live, what would you focus on? What trivial or distracting things would you let go of? How would your values shift? What would you make a stand for? Now ask yourself, are you currently living in line with those values? Pinpointing exactly what you would want the people around you to remember you for is a huge part of identifying your why. Once you know how you want to measure your life, you can then make necessary changes to ensure you are living in alignment with it.
In finding your why, you will know exactly who you are, what you stand for and where your passions lie. You will be able to live a purpose-driven life; one that allows you to make a difference, experience opportunities and ultimately achieve success and fulfillment. Hopefully, diving into the questions above will help you start the journey to discovering the power of your purpose.
Keywords: finding your why*, purpose-driven life, discovering you purpose, finding your passion
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