I’ve just finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, and it’s completely changed my thoughts on my life.
In it Frankl talks about finding your why, your reason for living, and it got me thinking; What reason am I on this planet?
A number of google searches later and I came across Simon Sinek’s talk on TED about finding your why in life, here’s the link; Simon Sinek Ted.Com
Apparently finding your purpose in life, your reason why you’re here is working out what your values, passions, skills and expertise and your natural talents are, and within those things you’ll find your why.
For example to find my values I looked at those times in my life when I’ve just had a warm glow inside me, things have gone right and you want that moment to last forever. For me it was all about being creative, being free of the 9-5, connecting with animals and nature and learning. My passions were quite easy to find; writing, photography, animals, fashion and makeup (I wanted to be a make up artist at 14). Finding my talent’s was tougher, does anybody really shout out about their own talents? Or is it just me that always says, ‘oh, that’s just something I do, I don’t think I’m any good at it’? Therefore I think of my talents as being writing, photography, pet whispering (I’ve worked with a few abused animals) and my organisational skills. The last category is skills and expertise or strengths. There are many know your strengths quiz’s online so I did one of those (as I was stuck). It turns out my strengths are what I was already focusing on. Creativity, appreciation of beauty, love of learning, hope, gratitude and leadership were my top ones, which fitted in with my values, talents and passions. Now what?
I sat and thought about it for a while, I drank coffee and watched a bit of tv. Still nothing bounced out at me to what my why was. So I did what I normally do when my brain refuses to work the way I want it to, I free wrote. There’s lots of ways of freewriting, either with or without a prompt, but if I’m struggling with something my way of sorting it out is just sitting down with my notepad and pen and writing for three pages. I’ve done the morning pages for years and it works, usually by page three I’m writing and thinking ‘really? where did that come from?’ at the same time.
So I freewrote my Why, this is what I came up with;
‘My purpose is to combine my love of animals and nature, to protect them and keep them from harm. To change other peoples attitudes to how animals are used by humans, to see it as something akin to the holocaust. To promote veganism through everything I do, and to bring it into all areas of my life. To continue to write, to expand my knowledge of the world around me, and be at one with the planet. To love the wildness, the open space and find my true heart there.’
Now, its by no means perfect, and I don’t even mention writing until over half way through, but that’s how it came out in the freewrite. My next step will be to condense it down into a pitch line, a couple of lines that will keep me on the straight and narrow if I ever deviate from my why. Then I’m going to print it out on a card to keep with me and read whenever I’m not sure of what I should do, or why I’m doing it.
Has it helped? I would say so far (it’s only been a week or so since this all happened) it’s clarified things for me. Even though its not perfect yet my Why has pulled me up short when I’ve thought about doing something and I’m hesitating. If it’s not in line with my Why, then I’ve not gone ahead, and I don’t think I’ve made any crazy decisions so far off the back of it.
Where my Why will take me in future is a whole different adventure, I’m excited about it for once, not scared.
The picture is of Johnshaven beach at sunset.