For many of us, work occupies a large portion of our time. That’s why I believe it’s important to understand why you are there, why you are doing that particular work, and why you want to be there.
People tend to work better when they know the answers to these ‘why’ questions. The ‘why’ can be many different things. For example, reaching financial targets, helping others or even just crossing off another tick on the daily to-do list. Some benefits of understanding your ‘why’ can include:
Fulfilment – Knowing your purpose can help to shape better decisions and actions, leading to more fulfilling outcomes.
Values alignment – Knowing your ‘why’ is a big step in helping you to live your life focused on your values, and what matters most to you, which ultimately will lead to happiness.
Clarity – Knowing your why is essential in identifying what’s important vs. unimportant, giving you the ability to hone in on achieving your goals
For me, once I figure out the why of a situation, I tend to be happier in both my work and personal life. I moved from Ireland to New Zealand, in 2017. It was obviously a big change, and I found that I was questioning myself quite a lot. I was ruminating on subjects like ‘why am I living on the other side of the world, away from my family and friends?’ why am I working in recruitment; and even to things like ‘why do I challenge myself to half marathons, when I am most definitely not a runner?!’.
However, I have found a very simple ‘why’ that puts me at ease. I focus on the fact that ‘I can’ do these things. I can travel the world; I am able to meet new people through my job, and feel a sense of accomplishment at the same time. I run half marathons because I can, though sadly, others don’t have that luxury. My niece, who has spina bifida, won’t have that option (although she is defying all odds given to her) and she is my focus.
It is important to realign focus sometimes, in both your work and home life. My suggestion is to try printing off some motivational quotes, or a sign stating your ‘why’ and put it in clear sight at your desk, or as a daily reminder on your phone. Ask yourself; what gets you out of bed in the morning? What excites you? What do want people say about you at your 80th birthday? Our actions define us, and it is the action of asking ourselves these questions to understand our why, that can help us become who we want to be.
Going back to my first statement: we spend so much time at work. Are you there to figure out your why—have you found it? Or maybe, you need to consider another career path to do so.
Here are a few resources I found helpful in my quest for ‘why’;
‘The Goal Digger’– podcast hosted Jenna Kutcher
‘The Happiness Project’– Gretchen Rubin
‘Better than before – mastering the habits of our everyday lives’ – Gretchen Rubin
If you feel like you are lacking focus, or need *something else* but you are not sure what, perhaps it’s time to uncover that ‘why’. It is about figuring out what is right for you, right now!