Purpose. Impact. Fulfillment. All are meaningful words for a desired way of living we want to maintain in pursuit of a quality life. Society may tell us to find what we love to do and do it for the rest of our life. Individuals tell us to never settle and keep pursuing our dreams. Regardless of how it’s described, pursuit of purpose, passion, or fulfillment can be seen as the driving force behind our behaviors and identity within the world. Influential author and speaker Simon Sinek calls this quest for meaning, “finding your why.”
Learning Through Literature
So how does one start the journey in finding their why? For some, it’s engaging in reading material such as Simon Sinek and David Mead’s book, Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, or exploring your leadership style with Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s Strengths Based Leadership. Perhaps you explore your personality through the Enneagram, which is increasing in popularity over the Myers Briggs Personality Test in its ability to develop insight into how we interact relationally with others from reinforcement in our childhood experiences. Any of these sources could support increased awareness not only of our strengths, but awareness of the psychological driving forces behind our motivation and resulting behaviors. A free version of the Enneagram quiz called EnneaApp can be found through the App Store with additional information and the formal assessment can found at the Enneagram Institute (enneagraminstitute.com).
In addition to read and written assessment, another low-risk option for exploration of purpose and self-discovery can occur through values exercises. Ranking a series of values by level of importance can allow further insight of what motivates a person. By engaging in a values exercise, it allows one to check in on how important values are being experienced both in the present moment and how they can be improved in the future to support feelings of fulfillment. A free, online resource to engage in exploration of your values can be found by completing the Life Values Inventory (lifevaluesinventory.org).
Core Beliefs and Cognitions
Engaging in the progressive work of processing behavior patterns and values can also be explored through therapeutic work. Identifying negative thoughts or core beliefs can create new connections and awareness between actions and reactions. Core beliefs can be described as our deepest, sometimes darkest fears or beliefs about ourselves, usually focusing on negative traits such as feelings of unworthiness, being unlovable, or feelings of failure. When experienced, core beliefs can engage visceral reactions in the body including intense feelings of shame and fear. When explored through trauma therapy modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), healing can be accelerated and supported to re-write our views of negative beliefs to something more positive, thus improving self-esteem, functioning, and relationships with others.
Whether you engage in the above-mentioned exercises to improve self-esteem, discover your purpose, or develop new insight, know that self-discovery is an exciting, sometimes lengthy process to uncover passion and motivation. However you go about engaging in “finding your why,” enjoy the process and be gentle with yourself as you uncover your recipe for success to achieve feelings of fulfillment and keep your passions alive!
“When you find your why, you find a way to make it happen.” Eric Thomas