What’s YOUR Why
These may be the three most important words on your radar screen right now, and maybe even in your life.
Saturdays and Sundays, I give myself a break from hitting the ground running. I still rise early, but I ease into the day with a great cup of coffee in the cup my grand niece gave me for Christmas. The cup reads, “the best job I ever had was being a NANA”.
What a great way to start the day … quiet, reflective, grateful for the week just passed, the week to come, and for so many people and experiences. I think of my niece and the joy she brings into my life, and I look forward to a beautiful day. Well, that’s how this last Saturday started too and then…
It was raining outside, you know one of those stay in and snuggle up in a blanket, days. It was before 5am when I turned on the television. One of my 2021 commitments to myself is to be more deliberate regarding what I allow into my energy field. It’s not just the food I eat. It’s also what news, social media, television, feedback, and people I allow entry into my space.
I quickly scanned the guide and saw nothing that fit my new criteria, so I went to the movie guide. After scanning, I finally settled on a movie, Collateral Beauty. I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about the movie, and actually had never even heard of it. I chose it solely because of Will Smith, one of my favorite actors.
I was snuggled up on the couch, coffee in hand, and not more than ten minutes into the movie when my Saturday and my weekend changed. The movie begins with Howard (played by Will Smith) a successful advertising executive addressing his team. He is energetic, charismatic and has them (and me) hanging on every word.
Howard shares his philosophy … that we are here to connect with every single human being on earth. I was instantly drawn in because both Howard and I share this philosophy.
Howard goes on to say that there are three things that connect us: Love, which we all long for; Time, which we all want more of; and Death, which most of us fear.
His inspirational speech continues until he drops a one-liner that shifts my focus from the movie to my own life… What’s Your Why?
Even though I continued to watch the movie, I have to admit I was only half there. The other half of me was already pondering those three simple words that made up that BIG question – What’s Your Why?
Thoughts and questions filled my mind. What did that question mean for me? For others? What are the questions behind the question? What is the reason I continue to engage in life? What is the reason I get up and do what I do? What provides meaning? What motivates me? … Why am I here?
Looking for purpose is not a new thing for me. I can remember as early as age 13 asking, why am I here? I can see now that what I was really asking was, what is my “why?”
In my mind’s eye, I can see myself at specific places and times through the years when I continued to ask that same question. And, in truth… I still do, to some extent today.
Which “P” Will it Be?
I used to look for “PURPOSE” with a “big P” instead of what I have come to embrace, which is “purpose” with a “little p.” I spent a lot of time searching for the “big P”; thinking I was supposed to make some once in a lifetime impact. You know, the equivalent of a cure for cancer, or solving world peace, or making a huge change in the world that would be my legacy.
It has (and still is) taking a lifetime for me to realize that I am already living my purpose, albeit with a little p. Realizing in your head is one thing, knowing in your heart can be life changing.
During my workshops, I ask participants to think about what legacy they want to leave, what they want to be remembered for when they are no longer here.
This is not a question to be answered quickly. It is an answer that is found through reflection, soul searching, and ultimately making the shift to live from the heart and not head (or ego).
I used to think I wanted to be remembered for the accomplishments I had made in my professional field, or the dysfunctions I had been able to break free from in an earlier part of my life.
It has only been over the last couple of years that I have been able to get clearer on What’s My Why.
That Important Why.
My “Why” centers around connecting, really connecting with others… If I can help them to see, to feel and to know that they belong, that they are enough, that they are filled with endless possibilities and are capable of so much more… If I can love and be loved, then I will have realized my Why.
I don’t know about you, but I get caught up the in day-to-day stuff. One day turns into another, the weeks turn into months and before you know it another year has gone.
As Howard explains, we all wish we had more time. However, the reality is that we have all the time in the world. It is not how much time we have, it’s what we do with the time we have.
However, it’s easy to forget that each moment is a gift, a blessing and that if we are clear about our Why, living becomes more joy filled.
What if your purpose is being a service to others? What if it is about touching hearts and minds? Are you already doing that?
What if your purpose is about forging pathways for others? Do you have ideas just waiting to be put into place?
What if your purpose is to live a life of joy and connection? Think about last week.
What if your purpose is to make a difference in the world? Are you already using your uniqueness, your gifts, knowledge, skills, and abilities? Are you letting the world see the truly wonderful you?
What if your purpose is to give your love, your time and your energy each and every day to others? Are you doing that? How are you already having a positive impact on others, and on the world?
If you are (and I’m thinking you’re already doing more than you think), would that be a life of purpose with a “big P” or a “little p?” I’m thinking that is living your PURPOSE.
Each of us has a different purpose and how we live that purpose is as unique as we are. I’m thinking that is a deliberate part of the plan. There is only one you, and only one me.
We have different strengths and weaknesses. We can learn to leverage our strengths and to learn from one another.
Together we are stronger. Together we can make our families, our communities, our nation and the world a better place.
As youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman so beautifully shared with us on Inauguration Day, “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
WE are the light. YOU are the light! It takes courage to show up as our authentic selves, to bring our gifts forward, to allow others to share their gifts and to allow ourselves to receive what we each need from one another.