You’re a fearless, open-minded, entrepreneurial, committed and fun goal digger. Am I right? I have a question for you.
Do you know why starting a business is a goal of yours in the first place? Why it’s so important that you achieve this?
If your first instinct is “to make money…to pay off debt…because it’s the logical next step in my business…” then you’re actually just scratching the surface. And I’m going to help you dig deeper.
Let’s get clear on why finding your true “why” is so important.
Your WHAT (goal) is supported by your HOW (actions to achieve said goal) which is inspired by your WHY (purpose).
In business, and in life, there will be obstacles. And more than likely, at some point, you’ll make a mistake and contemplate quitting.
This is where your why comes in. Frederick Nietzsche said it best, “He who has a why can endure any how”.
Your why is so foundational because you are much more likely to succeed when you understand the purpose behind your ambitions. Once you’ve identified the underlying motivation, it becomes your perpetual source of fuel to achieve your goals because you’ve confronted what it actually is that matters the most to you (your why) and you know that this goal of yours (your what) is a means to align to your purpose.
So how do you find your “why?”
I want to share my two favorite ways to start the soul search.
Pro tip: These methods will work when you’re completely honest with yourself. Open up!
Visual IKIGAI Mapping & Trigger Questions
IKIGAI is a Japanese term that means “reason for being.” They say you find your IKIGAI at the intersection of your passion, mission, vocation and profession. But sometimes it’s not so easy to simply list them out, so I’ve gathered some actionable items and thought-provoking questions for you to consider.
I highly encourage you to actually write this down. You can even draw out a mind map or put it in a powerpoint slide if you’re a visual learner like myself.
What are you knowledgeable about? What do you know how to do? What are your skills?
What is your dream career? Does it exist already, or could you make it up?
Is there an area of interest or a career that you’ve always been drawn to or curious about but maybe pushed aside or never explored?
What would you change about the world today? What would you want for your children?
What are causes you feel called to? Climate change, mental health, animal cruelty?
When are you in your “flow?” What are you doing when you’re so focused that you forget that time is passing?
What are you naturally good at? What do people tell you you have a talent for?
What excites you? What lights you up? What do you feel excited about learning, even if you haven’t properly explored it yet?
What matters most to you? What is your love language? What are your core values? Quality time, new experiences, words of affection, cultivating deep relationships, lifting others up?
What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Do you see a pattern? If you were to put all of these answers into a Venn Diagram, whatever is left in the middle should be pretty telling.
2. Seven layers of Why
At the beginning of this article, I asked you if you knew why you have the goals you have.
Most first reactions are along the lines of what I listed before – to make money, to pay off debt, out of some sort of obligation or because you think it’s the logical next step.
That’s not your “why,” but it is a great starting point. All you have to do now is ask yourself “why” again seven times, and keep asking until you’ve reached your core motivation.
Why do I have X goal? To make more money.
Why do I want to make more money? To work less.
Why do I want to work less? So I can spend more time with my family.
Why do I want to spend more time with my family? To be the best parent and partner I can be and fully appreciate the relationships I cherish most.
Perhaps it’s pretty straightforward to you and you find your why in half an hour. You could realise along the way that what you’re trying to achieve doesn’t actually resonate with your core desires and passions and you need to pivot.
Regardless of what happens during your soul search, it’s imperative that you embrace your reasons without judgement.
Finding your why will not only bring you clarity on how to achieve your business goals, but will likely improve other areas of your life as well. Once you acknowledge your core values, you can use them as a reference point, ensuring that the decisions you make align with them. You honor yourself by only acting in ways that support your values.
And not only will you be crushing your business goals, but you’ll also be living a true and fulfilling lifestyle.