I was visiting with her and she asked me a question that stopped me in my tacks. Frankly, I’m not sure if I have ever successfully answered the question for myself. I have flirted with an answer, danced around it, but I’m not sure I have a core answer.
Maybe I have.
Time will tell.
The lady I was chatting with was a copy consultant. She excels at helping companies nail their brand.
I’m confident if she asked you the question, you would stumble as I did. What is the question? First, let me explain.
We all have a purpose, sometimes we just don’t know what it is. It is far too easy to bounce along in life going from one task to the next, just getting by, to try to get to the end of the day.
We are working mindlessly. It is kind of like when I mow the lawn. My mind wanders. That is because the work is repetitive. I do the same thing over and over again.
My mind begins to think, wander, plan, even get creative.
Then, as soon as it is all over, poof. My great thoughts are gone.
We work mindlessly sometimes. We are doing the task because once we complete that task, we move on to the next thing.
But, why do we really do what we do? Why do we build websites for a living? Why do we work with WordPress or MainWP?
So, the question the lady asked me? Her question was, “What is your why?”
I began to think about that and am still thinking about that. I am closer today than I was then.
So, what is your why?
There are multiple ways to ask this question. One is, “What is your purpose?” Another is, “What is your mission?” They all mean the same thing.
It is time for you to decide what is your mission, your purpose, ultimately, what is your why?
Building a foundation by finding your purpose
Have you ever conducted a discovery session with a client and asked them what is important to their business? Sure you have. Remember the answers you receive? It is probably something like I want to make money. These are rather high-level goals without any specificity.
We call this motivation. Behind each motivation is a why. Are you able to find your why?
This might require a few “whys?” before we reach our ultimate motivation. When we reach the final “why” then we are closer to understanding not only our motivation but, ultimately our purpose, our mission.
If you will notice, these are the same things we do to discover our own target audience. We ask the questions. We ask the whys? We want to know their motivations as well.
Two books you may look into for finding the right message and asking the right questions for your own target audience are Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research into Irresistible Website Copy by Jennifer Havice and The Ask Method by Ryan Levesque.
Additionally, you might look into Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action or his other book Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team.
The WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief that drives every organization and every person’s individual career. Why does your company exist? Why did you get out of bed this morning? And why should anyone care? Startwithwhy
Review your story
Your own story can help you find clues to your purpose.
Our lives can take a very interesting direction. We find our dreams shattered only to find a new one rise from the ashes. We may find our relationships broken only to find new, better relationships.
Take a look back on your life. What gives you energy like nothing else? These contain clues to what we really value.
There is a great article on six questions to ask yourself for discovering your purpose by MeiMei Fox at Forbes. I think the questions are great for helping you dig past the surface issues.
If you want a tad more reflection, check out this article at MarkManson.net.
What are your core values
It is our core values that drive us. Do you value sustainability? Do you value equality in the workplace? Is faith your biggest driving factor?
We have to decide what are the most important values we have as leaders of our company. Once we make those known to ourselves, we will see how they drive our business.
Entrepreneur Mike Kappel spells out his company’s values on their website.
According to him, their three core values are:
- In everything we do, we put back (i.e., give) more than we take.
- We do what needs to be done without taking shortcuts.
- In everything we do, we follow the Golden Rule. (This means that we treat others how we would want to be treated: customers, co-workers, competitors, etc.)
The company breaks those down even further on the Patriot Software website.
Have you ever spent time going down the road on a project or a task that just doesn’t fit your personality or values? Determining your core values can help you avoid those time-consuming journeys.
Wrapping it up
There are at least four words we use to describe that one thing that drives us. For you, it might be the word purpose or mission. Those are valid. Some might call it their why. Still, others will call it a goal or objective.
It all comes down to learning what drives us individually. When we learn what drives us individually, we can determine what drives our business.
Just like the Golden Circle, when we determine our why, we can then determine the how and ultimately, the what.
Have you determined your “why?” Do you know what your purpose or your mission is?
Drop your thoughts below.