WEEK SIX | MODULE THREE INTRO | What's Your Why
I think that most of us know what we want.
We’re almost always just too afraid to say it. We’ve also spent so much time getting further and further away from what makes us happy as individuals, and closer to what we 'should do' or what others expect of us.
For an onslaught of reasons, saying the thing we really want to do or achieve stops us dead in our tracks.
Some of us are born just knowing that ‘what we love’ and ‘what we’re good at’ align. Or sometimes we just know what we want to do and we’ll do absolutely anything to achieve it. What I’m talking about, is your legacy. I mean what you’re leaving the world with when you go.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be through the career you have, but often, because we spend most of our time at our jobs, we’re inclined to try and find the thing we give to the world, in our work.
This I get.
I don’t want to spend my days doing something I don’t connect with. I, like you, want to feel purposeful. We thrive when we feel needed, directional, intentional, and clear about our trajectory.
Fulfillment is an interesting thing.
There doesn’t seem to be a clearcut recipe for finding it. From what I know and have experienced with clients, my own journey, and loved ones, fulfillment starts with a mindset. And when I say fulfillment, I’m referring to that feeling of your cup being full when you go to bed each night. You feel like you contributed something that day. That you being in the world was meaningful to yourself and someone else.
Fulfillment comes when you know that you’re using your natural gifts and skills to their full potential - when you’ve given all of yourself willingly and with enthusiasm. But when we look at types of jobs and lifestyles on a macro level, there isn’t a way to draw similarities between the actions that bring one person fulfillment and the actions that bring the same feeling to another.
For one person, having a family and living each day dedicated to nurturing that family may bring them fulfillment. For someone else, it could be completely the opposite.
I think the key is two things:
- That what you’re doing is in fact what you WANT to do.
- You see, identify with, and value the IMPACT that you have.
My favourite examples of this are within an episode of a podcast called Hidden Brain.
I want to share with you, a value that was instilled in me from an early age - one that has aided me in feeling fulfilled throughout the majority of my life thus far.
And this doesn’t mean that I’ve always loved my job or have filled my days with enjoyable things. It also doesn’t mean that I have had a significant impact on a major movement or moved mountains in anything specifically. It's just that I have mostly felt good about how I've spent my time.
From as far back as I can remember, my parents taught me not only that ‘giving back’ is good, but they taught me HOW to give back.
In this simple lesson, I have been deeply in touch with the way in which I achieve fulfillment, no matter what my circumstances are.
One of my favourite ways that my parents showed my sister and I the power of giving, was on Christmas each year. We would wake up early on Christmas Eve to a warm and dreamy smell making its way from the kitchen. My mom would have us help her to assemble little goody baskets for each of our neighbours in the surrounding area on our block. We’d write them each a personalized note and then pile on the winter layers and boots before being sent out into the snow. My sister and I would go house to house, delivering the Christmas treats.
This little act of generosity brought so much joy to each family we visited - over the years it became something that everyone looked forward to. The one thing my mom made certain was that my sister and I would simply be responsible for giving, and receiving nothing in return from the neighbours. She wanted to instil this lesson, that we give not to receive, but rather, to impact someone else in a positive way.
It was this embedded lesson that left me hooked on that amazing euphoric feeling you get when you volunteer, give back, or help someone in need.
That, for me, translates to fulfillment.
Now I have seen this play out into my adolescence and now adulthood. I’ve held a number of volunteer roles, mostly working with children or in the arts, and now I’m going on my third year of being a Big Sister with the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters. The gifts that being a Big Sister to my little have given me are immeasurable. Not only does it leave me feeling like my cup is overflowing with love and fulfillment - but it is a beautiful way for me to step outside of my ego and be fully aware of someone else and their needs. I get to see things from her perspective, care about more than just myself, and feel accountable to a larger purpose.
I'd also consider the possibility that maybe we’re stressing about purpose too much.
I think we run the risk of getting too caught up in our own minds when we place so much weight on figuring out what we’re meant for.
Your purpose is to be here. You’re HERE!
So what are you doing with your time that is meaningful? Perhaps it’s as simple as just doing something meaningful. This Module is about defining your why. The reason you get up each day.
It's big work that is very important.