When we are young, people always ask us: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” They don’t ask about what school we’re going to go to, what neighborhood we’re going to live in, or how much money we want to make. They ask us what we want to be.
And when we answer? They ask us why.
I can bet that it was a rare child who answered that question with something about a 401K, supply economy, or the chance of breaking a $100,000 salary before their 35th. Instead, we answered from our hearts.
We wanted to do it because it would help people, it would save animals, or it would help us reach the stars.
When we were children we knew our why, but somewhere along the way people stopped asking and a lot of us stopped thinking about it.
When we stopped thinking about our why, we started settling.
Discovering your why is essentially about discovering your passion and then understanding why it fire’s you up. You then use that fuel to gain clarity and focus towards making it into a career and ultimately creating a life you love.
Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying:
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
The idea that that passion will be what keeps you going is an important one. Whatever your passionate about will be what keeps your dream alive. It will allow you to focus your attention and endeavors on your dream becoming a success and will keep you returning to that ultimate goal when you inevitably face setbacks.
Your why should be about more than just what you hope to do. It should also take into account your innate strengths. Ask yourself what you are good at. Are you adept at unraveling complex patterns? Do you come up with ‘out of the box’ solutions, or are you extremely creative? Write down and become aware of what your natural strengths, weaknesses and unique attributes are. Those are what set you apart from everyone else.
Companies like Warby Parker and Tom’s have created a unique market and loyalty within their customer base. This is because they know and demonstrate their “why”. They know their strengths, weaknesses and unique attributes and use them to their advantage. This not only sets them apart from competition but also has helped them achieve great levels of success not just within their industry but worldwide.
Knowing your why is a fundamental part of growing your business and living your life to the fullest, with purpose.
Whether you already have a business and want to better understand how to attract customers, or if your business is still a series of Post-It notes and dreams, knowing your why will allow you to guide it towards growth and success. Any company functioning without a why is a ship without a rudder. You may be going somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you’re going in the right direction.
To make sure that you’re creating a future that you can live fully with passion and dedication, you have to find your why. Look inside yourself, and ask: “what do I want to be when I grow up?”