Where do you find your why?

AI image of a detective searching with a magnifying glass

In the previous article I set out the question Why this idea?. It was aiming to bridge the gap between what you do and why you do it?.

As an entrepreneur, the what comes down to the product I'm building, the content I create and the community I'm gathering. The why is the thread that stitches it all together and allows me to focus on achieving the goals—even in the absence of motivation.

However, this really only works when you have found your 'why'. But what if you are still searching. Where do you find your why?

A why is revealed, not created

We're all different and no one person can speak on behalf of another. I can't tell you what your why should be. But I can help you reveal it.

It's time to get in touch with your intrinsic motivations. Unlike doing things for money and status (extrinsic motivation), intrinsic is where it comes from within.

You need to start paying attention to the things you care about. Start journaling and asking the question. What makes me get passionate? What makes me see a future that could be better? What makes me frustrated that nobody is doing something to fix it.

If you do this over time, you'll start to see patterns emerge.

How it happened for me

For me, education seems to be a recurring theme. I'm frustrated that we don't teach about growth mindset, psychology, depression and anxiety, grit, resilience, emotional intelligence, ego—and how all this plays with our own internal thinking and the relationships of the people around us.

The more I read about these things, the more I see the gaps in how the next generation of people simply don't have access to this understanding. On a personal level, I've been happier and more fulfilled by learning this. I want to pay it forward.

As time went on, I realised this was something my mind kept going back to, kept seeing the problem and kept seeing a very simple question: "How can a future generation benefit by knowing this?"

What if you really can't spot your why

Do not worry. It's a process and can take time. In this case, focus on challenging yourself with skills that interest you. For example, this may be building your own audience teaching someone who represents you but from 12 months ago. Just try a variety of things and get a feel for what gets you excited, and what doesn't.

However, it must be a challenge that allows you to grow in some way. From the book Grit by Angela Duckworth, it can take gaining competence in a field before someone really enjoys what they do. If you're forever starting, you'll feel lost and unproductive. Give yourself permission to try hard.

Over to you

Open up a notebook, paper or digital, it doesn't matter. And commit to writing what has interested you once a week for the next 6 weeks. Start to talk to yourself and break down the barrier by being honest with what interests you. Now imagine going all in on one idea. Does that get you excited, or does it put you off?

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