Here are three reasons I often hear that people give for "Why" they do what they do:
- Their family
- To "Make a positive impact"
- To change the world or change their [insert industry here]
I like to do an exercise with people when they first provide their general "Why". It's simple—you ask "Why?" three times after each answer they give. Usually by the third "Why?" you are at the root of their convictions.
Q: "Why is your family so important to you?"
A: "Because I want them to be happy and have opportunities I never had."
Q: "Why is that important?"
A: "Well, because my parents never seemed to care about that for me. I never felt like they pushed me to achieve my dreams."
Q: "Why do you think that is needed?"
A: "Because I think everyone should be pushed harder than what they think is possible. Our culture is so comfortable with mediocrity now."
You can see that the "Why" is actually not family at all. The Why is that the world is comfortable with mediocrity, and this particular person wants to change that. So, this preverbal person now has actionable steps they can take to actualize that conviction in the real world. They have uncovered how their personal experiences have shaped who they are, and they can live each day with a focused conviction, and not just a general motivation. This will leave them feeling more fulfilled each day and allow them to change the world in a specific way.
Stop confusing your general motivations with your deeply held convictions. Don't cut yourself short when it comes to knowing and living our your deeply held beliefs. Unpack what truly motivates you beyond the surface level and discover the unique, targeted impact you can make on the world.