Do You Know Why You Do What You Do?
“Given a big enough why people can bear almost any how.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Do you know why you do the work you do each day? How does the work you do add value to the collective good? Why is it important to you? What do you love about it? What excites you about the work you’ll do today? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Try this, turn the adage “Do what you love and the money will follow” into “Love what you do and the money will follow”. When you are doing your work from a place of purpose and passion you are going to do an outstanding job at it…and the money will follow.
Think about work you’ve done recently that you aren’t that fond of doing, or maybe something you need to do that you are dreading. How do you show up for it? Are you energetic and creative or negative and lethargic? How do you feel when you are doing the work? How good of a job do you do? Is it mediocre or outstanding work?
Now imagine doing that same work, but first think through why it is important to do it. What are the benefits to you and/or your company/team? Why is the work important? How does it help you, your team and your company succeed?
As many of you know I worked for a large bank for many, many years. Banks have gotten a lot of bad press over the last several years, but banks and the people that work there are not all evil. One of the things about where I worked is that they also gave me my student loan so I could go to college. Where I worked help me better myself and my life with that student loan. They also helped me buy a home at one point. They have helped many, many others in similar ways…this was an important part of my drive and “why” when I worked there. Another big part of my “why” there had to do with the great people I got to work with. It was important to me that I did what I could as a leader to make work someplace they enjoyed being. My love of learning, working with teams, solving problems and what technology can do to help business areas were also all part of my “why”. And of course, part of my “why” was getting paid for the work I do so I could take care of my family and do the things I want to do in life.
Now as a coach, I still have fairly consistent “why’s” motivating me. I’m still helping people and teams get results and solving problems. And I have been learning at such an amazing rate since moving to Germany and starting my coaching practice, it’s mind boggling. I’m using and learning new technology in my own business, as well as to help my clients thrive and prosper. I get to help people love their work more, and to get results both personal and in their careers. So at the core of it all, my “why’s” are all still here, I’m just doing different work to accomplish them.
But even in my work as a coach, there are aspects and tasks associated with running the business that I’m not terribly fond of. So this is something I still do, keeping my “WHY” front and center. The difference between how my day goes and the job I do when I’m grounded in my why vs. trudging through because it has to be done are total polar opposites. When I’m feeling discouraged or concerned about something with the business, reminding myself of my why allows me to take my fears and worries out of the equation, and keep moving forward.
So what about you, do you have a clear set of “WHY’s” that motivate and inspire you? If not, take some time to get to know why you do what you do. To get to your “why’s”, ask these questions: How are you contributing to the collective good (all ways. big and small)? What do you love about your work? What are the benefits of the work you do for you, your family and your community? How does the work you do add value and make where you are a better place to be? How can you love the work you are doing even more? What is the work you want to do more of?
With a compelling and big enough why, the how will take care of itself & you’ll have a lot more fun along the way. You deserve to love the work you do. That doesn't mean it won't be stressful and difficult of course, it is work after all, but when you are loving what you do each day...it is a lot more rewarding and feels a lot less like "work".