“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain
What's a Why and a Purpose?
According to Merriam-Webster, why is defined as the reason or cause for something. Purpose is an object or end to reach or achieve. Your purpose or why is the reason you’re on the earth, and it guides every area of your life. German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche stated, “He who has a why can endure any how.”
We only have one why, one purpose. And it won’t change.
Finding a purpose in life is a fundamental and foundational human need. We’re wired to desire fulfillment and meaning in life. And when we’re living a life on purpose, we can experience:
- Greater well-being and vitality
- Increased optimism and better health
- Decreased depression symptoms
- Greater career satisfaction and increased income
Purpose also drives our goals. Our direction. And it transcends into every area of our lives. If our reason for being here is to encourage others, that’ll affect how we interact with our kids, co-workers, and shape our role as a friend. And when tough days and seasons occur, we’re able to stay focused on why we’re here and keep moving forward.
How Do You Find Your Why?
What if you don’t know your purpose or why? You are not alone! In today’s noisy, pressure-filled and success-driven world, discovering who you are that no one else is can be challenging to say the least.
Simon Sinek, thought leader and purpose pioneer, helps people discover their purpose for a living. He came up with a very quick, simple way to get you in the ballpark of finding your why:
- Go to your best and closest friend (not spouse, parent, or sibling).
- Ask them, “What is it about me that makes me so special to you and makes you want to be friends with me?”
- You’ll more than likely get answers that speak to attributes of friendship (i.e., you’re dependable, a good listener, etc.).
- Keep giving them push-back with their responses until they begin talking about themselves.
- When they finally describe the value that you add to their lives, that’s your why.
You can check out Simon Sinek’s entire exercise here.
How Does Your Purpose Affect Your Business?
Some individuals within companies are more innovative, influential, and profitable than others. Some even command more loyalty and can repeat their achievements over and over. Why? They understand what their purpose is and what their business’s purpose is.
If you’re feeling lost, unsure, or uninspired about your life, work, or future, start with your why. If you want to create a successful brand with an incredibly loyal customer base, start with your why.
“Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do… . Some know how they do it… . But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do.” -Simon Sinek.
“People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It.”
Today’s consumers want businesses and brands to be authentic. And that authenticity starts with your organization’s purpose. Your purpose might not be, “We want to save the world.” It could be establishing a family-friendly culture or putting the client first. This belief system will permeate everything you do and will run deep, meeting the demand consumers make for purpose-driven, impactful values, direction, leadership, products, and services.
Living out your why can lead to long-lasting achievement, fulfillment, and success. Without discovering your purpose, you’ll run the risk of not fully understanding where you're going, struggle to set and achieve goals, and fail to establish authenticity with your customer base.
You are unique, and you've been placed on this earth with a distinct purpose that only you can fulfill. Who are you that nobody else is?