How to Walk to Your ‘Why’ (if you can’t run it)
Updated: Feb 15
Remember the eye-opening 2007 statistic that we spend one-third of our lives working? In the era of remote work where the line between our professional and personal lives have become increasingly blurred, we can no longer pretend that our purposes are entirely separate too.
Investigating and reflecting on your why is critical to feeling fulfilled in your life and it can even make you a better employee. Yet many of us don’t know where to start.
Here’s our actionable roadmap to help you identify your why, then live it every day.
Defining Your Why
The first step towards living your why is knowing what it is.
Start with Simon Sinek’s TED Talk that’s garnered over 50 million views. He turns to neuroscience to help people understand their purpose and drive.
Draw 5 pivotal moments from your life that exemplify your why. This exercise not only helps you reflect, but research also shows that the act of drawing inspires new insights.
Write up your ideal job description. This reflective practice can help you articulate what’s missing from your life.
Ask yourself three questions. Does your work excite you? Does it challenge you? Does it add value? When you can shout an enthusiastic yes to all three, you have likely found your why.
Getting Your Why Into Your Day
For many of us, living our why in their purest form may not be feasible. Yet there are many ways to integrate your purpose into your existing routines.
Deliberately build your day – Identify the things that bring you energy and integrate them into your other tasks. For example, if you really enjoy talking with others, schedule virtual work sessions with friends to help you feel invigorated all day.
Find ways to contribute your strengths – Do things that are meaningful and allow you to bring your best contribution. If you have a passion for graphic design, volunteer that skill for a cause that you care about. Check out CatchAFire.org, where individuals can volunteer their professional services for the social sector.
Keep learning – Practicing continuous learning can reignite your why if you feel stagnant. Check out our curated, actionable tips here.
Strive for a work/life equilibrium – That’s obviously much easier to write than it is to live. But organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s podcast WorkLife is packed with tips and insights to help make it a little easier.
Living your why can be a daunting task, and like anything else, you must walk before you can run. Start living your why today by using these concrete exercises to inspire reflection and practice your why a little every day.
Want to help your employees live their why? Start by instilling a culture of continuous learning that fosters individual exploration. Check out our own Zach Braiker and Purnima Thakre’s