What’s your why – and why it’s worth knowing
Why do you do what you do?
Most of us find it pretty easy to talk about what we do – (I’m a coach. I’m a librarian, I work in marketing…) but it actually tells us and those listening very little other than where we work or our job title.
When we start to examine our ‘why‘ we start to connect with our purpose, our reasons for getting up in the morning, our values and what we’re all about.
And what’s important about that?
Well, when we connect with our why, we are using a part of our brain (our limbic brain) responsible for our feelings, including trust and loyalty, and decision making. It enables us to communicate ‘from the inside out’ as Simon Sinek explains in one of the most watched TED talks.
At a team workshop I facilitated this week, I invited participants to consider their ‘why’ and I’ll ask you to do the same in a moment. The results were powerful. People shared stories about their histories, of what really matters to them, of their connection to the work they do, their purpose and to each other.
An invitation for you to explore your ‘why’
This is a ‘stream of consciousness’ exercise where you’ll be invited to write (or speak, if you choose to do this verbally, perhaps with someone else to ask you the questions) quickly and from your gut or your heart (try not to over think it!) If you’re writing, please don’t worry about spelling, grammar, writing full words or handwriting – do whatever you need to do to capture your thoughts.
- What positive difference do you want to make in your role?
- Jot down what you notice.
- Read or play back (or ask your partner to repeat back) what you’ve written or said and ask yourself, ‘and what’s important about that?’
- Again, listen deeply to yourself and record what you notice.
- Have a go 2 or 3 more times until you’ve dug deeper and deeper.
- By now, you may well have struck your values, your purpose and what really matters.
- Write down your final ‘why’ in one sentence.
- What do you notice about your ‘why?’
- Are there any surprises?
- What do you know now?
- And what difference will that make?
Let me know what you discover!