Finding your why

I attend a lot of networking events. And by a lot, I mean a LOT. I enjoy relaxed atmospheres that bring together various people from a wide range of professions who wouldn’t normally meet.

That, and I’m also a big fan of free food (or coffee) (or SWAG).

So when I signed up for the Next Monday Ladies 2.0 Lunch, Learn and Network, I was expecting to attend just another luncheon with some professional-related speaker topic and a free lunch (see above). But what I received was a chance to better myself on a personal and professional level. Woah, right?

The speaker at this event was Dawn Zimmerman, owner of The Write Advantage,  and she started her talk with this question:

Do you love your current job SO MUCH that you would do it every day… for free?

If the answer is no – like 80% of Americans – then maybe you need to find your why. Which is why Dawn, after excelling quickly to the top of her field in journalism, quit her job to find her why. What does that even mean?

It all comes back to Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” theory, explained below. While most will lead with the what or even the how, successful people, companies and organizations lead with the why.

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When a company or an individual finds their why and starts with their why, they become truly authentic. Dawn talked to us about how she found her why, and how that lead her to start The Write Advantage. There are three components that she recommends using to get there…

Purpose: What are your unique gifts?

Passion: What really motivates you?

People: Who do you want to impact?

Where do these three components intersect? Figure that out, and you’ve found your why.Going below the surface here, let’s think about those three P’s in more depth.

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What is my unique gift? My ability to remember useless trivia? Nahh… My skills with a hot-glue gun? Probably not. We so often don’t think about what we’re uniquely good at, which is why Dawn shared that this often comes from others’. We might not know what our unique gifts are until someone else points them out.

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When it comes to passion, there’s a lot that I could say I’m passionate about. I love a good red wine. I’m a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan. But is that really my passion? Is that really what motivates me – what excites me? Not likely. Passion is about finding something that you love so much, you would do it for free.

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The last P – people – challenged me even more than the other two. I’m generally not a huge people-lover. I get along great with a variety of different personalities, and I can hold my own in pretty much any social situation – no matter how awkward, But in reality, I’m somewhat introverted. So when forced to think about who I want to impact, I drew a blank. Dawn reminded us the people we most likely want to impact are directly related to our other two P’s – our purpose and our passions. With that reminder, I discovered the first puzzle pieces to my why:

Purpose: I have a really strong ability to make others feel comfortable. I can diffuse awkward situations, and I am very understanding.

Passion: I love to help others succeed, to help them be happy, to help them feel good, or at least just to make others smile.

People: Who do I want to impact? Those who deserve it. Simple as that.

So where does that lead me? What is my why? What should I do with it? I have a little more soul-searching to do before that can be official, but I think this has started me on the right track to figure it all out.

Have you found your why? Are you living your purpose? Please share your adventures in finding your why, or reach out with any questions you might have! I’d love to hear from you.

#EmilyFayeSays

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