In-Between the Pages: Looking For Your Why

“An essential pattern or maintaining culture is to talk about your values; to embrace your beliefs as a team with passion and intensity, and not be shy or cautious with them. Too often, we try to be all things to all people and while we treasure the diversity of our team [at Timshel] and strive to be inclusive about our ideas and perspectives, we have strong opinions about what matters, why we work, and what we’re here to do. Everyone seeks meaning and we’re trying to create a space where we can do world-class work in service of something greater than the work itself.” — Michael Slaby — Head of Mission, Timshel

There will be people in you life that will try to limit you. Tell you what your why is and should be. That you won’t be good enough or meet the gold standard for what success looks like for the passion you have. It’s not enough to say you will beat their expectations. To overcome your critics you will have to find your why, then pour everything you have into it.

Working with out your why leaves this hole in you, like a vacuum. That vacuum can take on many personas which will take up residence in your head such as depression, loss of purpose or focus, or a vulnerability to distractions which rob you of time. Leave that vacuum for to long unaddressed and you have the danger of losing yourself, what you’re designed to be great at.

First, you need to get motivated and create some self-discipline by finding out if your motivated by extrinsic, intrinsic, and/or prosocial motivations to aide your resolve in being the best you can be.

If you’re working on your business because you want to buy that mansion, looking for a new job because you want to enjoy a better social status, or working hard on a project because you want that big bonus, you’re motivated extrinsically.

You’re motivated intrinsically when you do things out of enjoyment, to challenge yourself, to improve yourself, or to fulfill your other higher needs. For me, this very writing/blogging/journaling is a great example of intrinsic motivation.

Lastly, prosocial motivators are dominately driven from personal needs to help others. A perfect illustration of this would be you jumping into a river to save a loved one that cannot swim. Prosocial motivation is the strongest motivation you can have. It’s not longer about you but rather people or issues you care about. This is perhaps the hardest one to own as well.

Once you find you motivation in your pursuit of your why it is time to build some habits around them to keep them sharp and in front of you.

One best practice that I have read and heard of is finding your purpose by building what is called a keystone habit. This is what Charles Duhigg has to say about keystone habits from his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:

“Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.”

These keystone habits are developed through choices, taking chances, and making solid ground on changes. I ran into a perfect quote somewhere that I don’t have the author for that frames this thought up perfectly:

“You must make a Choice to take a Chance or your life will never Change.” – Unknown

The greatest hurdle you will have to overcome will always be the battle with yourself. You need to take the chance on those undeniable strengths you inherently bring which takes a choice to do so. You can make the change around you when you put your choice into action.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”― Archilochus

How much of a priority are you going to give fear and let it keep you from going after your best? Put that fear in line with perspective.

So to recap, don’t be limited or listen to what others have to say about you. Don’t empower others to fill your vacuum, fill it yourself. Then you need to put yourself into position where your core strengths can have the best place to run free. Be noticed by positioning yourself in one of the three modifiers mentioned above: intrinsic, extrinsic, and prosocial motivators. Putting yourself positionally where you’re getting motivated the most by what you do will carry you through all the other white noise around you holding you back. Lastly, keep the three Cs in front of you at all times. Choose to take a chance so change can happen.

Thanks for reading and it’s great to be back writing for you all again.


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