Finding My Own “Why?” by Carol Malone
Join us today as authorpreneur, book and creativity coach in training, Carol Malone, takes her own advice and searches to find her own “Why.” Enjoy!
This month, I’m writing about my trial and error in determining my own “Why” to uncover why I do what I do — one of the toughest mental experiences of my life.
It’s not as easy as saying, “Well, I like dogs therefore I should be a veterinarian, or dog-trainer,” or “I like to cook, so I should go try to beat Bobbie Flay.”
It’s a matter of understanding what drives you internally.
Where does your passion lie? Or what’s your purpose?
Do you know why you do what you do?
I couldn’t put my finger on what had happened to my “Why” that compelled me to write six books in less than six months, be in the gym, and exercise for 2 hours EVERY day, eat right, work full-time, lose over 100 pounds, and write every day.
What happened to my spark, the burst of sun rays each morning, the emotional push that I had?
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still do the “whats” and the “hows,” but something vital and pulsing with life was missing. Still is.
Now, I do show up for work, essentially happy to be there, roughly thrilled to be writing books and editing for someone else, and practically enjoying my client relationships.
I am not totally ecstatic about how I do things either. I feel flat and overwhelmed with the time demanded of me. And, because I spend so much time with my clients, my own writing and editing is non-existent. Has that happened to you?
Where to start?
Before I return to my article, “What is Your Why?” posted last month on Writer’s Fun Zone, I thought I’d do another Google search on “Finding your Why.”
I located a guest post on the website, Sources of Insight. Great site, good resources. The guest poster said her job was working as a “Change Agent and Intelligence Professional.” Sounded terribly impressive to me.
What, you might ask, is a “Change Agent?”
Janine de Nysschen is the “Change Agent” in question. At that time in 2009, she had worked at Microsoft as a strategist in audience intelligence and globalization. Before that, she worked for the South African government where she helped to transform post-apartheid intelligence structures. Again – impressive. She must have something useful for me. She works to help people and organizations change.
In Janine’s article, “Discover Your Why,” she declared right up front, “…there’s a sense of purpose instilled in everyone.”
I scratched my head and thought:
“If that’s correct, why am I running around these days with NO sense of purpose, unable to decide on what is my highest priority to accomplish? Why am I stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of sitting down to write or edit? Why can’t I focus on my health and making positive changes? Is there something majorly wrong with me? Have I lost the drive, passion, and persistence that once propelled me to write my first novels?”
All good questions. I didn’t have any clear answers.
What does a person with their “Why” intact look like?
According to Janine, these “Why” people:
“… have a cause that drives them, a belief that inspires them. They want to challenge the status quo, help people find the power to do what matters to them, show others how to reach their full potential… For them, success is fulfilling their purpose.
“It’s these people who thrive, who do well professionally, and who love their lives. They make better choices about where they work and what they do, because they know why they do it. And it’s simple. If you want a more purposeful life, then you should be doing things you love – not just the things you’re good at. Working for passion far outweighs working for a paycheck.”
How can I, or any of us, become one of “those” people who have their “Why” firmly in place?
After another Google search, I found another site – Oprah’s actually – where she “…identified seven ‘striving styles,’ modes of thought and behavior that direct us to seek satisfaction in different ways.”
If you’re interested in finding out why you might be stuck in search for your “Why,” take her assessment quiz:
Here are my scores:
Striving to be Secure: 14
Striving to Help: 13
Striving to be Knowledgeable: 13
Striving to be in Control: 13
Striving to be Creative: 11
Striving to be Recognized: 9
What did my quiz reveal about me? And is an aptitude test important to finding my “Why”?
That I have the personality of someone who loves to be recognized, learn, loves my family, teaching and serving others, is no surprise.
When I was a child and left with babysitters most of the time, I was lonely.
When others reached out to me, I grabbed onto the help they offered.
I guess that’s why I keep volunteering for groups of writers both in person in my local community, and online with groups from Facebook and the RWA. I can’t help myself. But helping and serving others, volunteering, is right up there with the things I’m good at and one of the things I enjoy.
So is my deep core values as a faithful member of a religious group that expects a certain selfless lifestyle.
My church also loves to serve people in the U.S. and around the world with many programs. They have designed a website in conjunction with many service organizations to help our communities and the rest of the world in time of trouble and adversity. It’s called JustServe.org. As a person who loves to serve, I’m pleased to see there are many service organizations requesting help.
So, is that my “Why”: the thrilling feeling I receive when I help people?
Janine de Nysschen, “Discover Your Why.”
Let’s dig some more:
Questions to ask yourself (me too), how to develop a clear “Why”.
• What will I have in my life once I achieve my goal?
My answer: I will experience the heart-pounding, breath-steeling, mind-blowing sensations of success as I measure it. My success measuring tape is different from others.
• How much better will my life be once I hit my target?
My answer: I see a lessoning of stress, strengthening of my writing and publishing career, promotion and selling of more books. All this would heighten my positivity for working with my ghostwriting and editing clients, and in my personal life.
• What will I lose out on if I fail or give up?
My answer: I will not experience the joy or over-powering thrill of completing all my novel projects, publishing my books, or growing my business. I’ll be stuck in my mostly-negative blah of a life.
• What areas of my life will be improved?
My answer: I will certainly improve my creativity as I wrote more and more stories. My emotional state will improve since I won’t be as stressed over stretching my ability to help others until I don’t have anything left in the tank. And my ability to seek divine help will be strengthened when answers come after diligently seeking.
• What are the top 3 things that I will gain once I reach my goal?
My answer: 1. Confidence; 2. Determination; 3. Love
When were the times in my life when I felt particularly fulfilled, excited, or inspired?
As a child, I had confidence in my ability to create worlds of imagination and dreams. I played for hours entertaining myself with dolls or thimbles as people, giving my make-believe worlds as much credence as the real world. I was much happier there. There I was a success and loved.
In high school, I had a few of years where I felt my power and failure was not an option. Those for instances came in my a cappella choir years, my yearbook staff years, my love of all things English years, and my beginning story writing years. I even thrived in sports: tennis, volleyball, badminton, and even running track. I felt the push of determination and people loved me because I helped them achieve their desires. I got recognition.
About eight years ago, I returned to college after a long break. I took every English course my community college offered. I even worked on their literary magazine staff. When I started writing, I found it all — confidence in myself and my writing, determination to keep writing, exercise, working hard, and love. I rekindled my love affair with my husband. It was a glorious time.
Looks like I come alive when I’m creating, imagining, and dreaming.
Also, when I am achieving intellectual pursuits and the physical activities I love. And I thrive when loved.
Is that my “Why?” — to feel those things on a regular basis?
Let’s reflect on the next four questions – you and I – and I figure out the “sweet spot.”
1. What makes you (me) come alive?
I love to feel needed and important. I like to think my time and talents are appreciated and applauded. I’m passionate about creating new stories and helping others create theirs. Helping others with their writing makes me come alive.
2. What are your (my) innate strengths?
I’m bossy. Stubborn. Determined. Long-suffering. Committed. Faithful. Supportive. Empathetic. Obedient. Self-sacrificing. Imaginative. Happy.
3. Where do you (I) add the greatest value?
I love helping people, organizations, and my church with committees and boards reach success in their efforts. I love to volunteer to serve in those committees, organizations, and my church. I hope I add value to these groups by my willingness to go above and beyond the regular efforts of others who do not volunteer, but expect the groups to run smoothly, and seemingly without effort. I am not opposed to working hard and long hours for different groups. I like to make people
happy with my humor and my help.
4. How will you (I) measure life?
Like I said above, my measuring stick is not the same as others. For my spiritual pursuits of the divine and recognition, I want the highest level offered. The true measure of my spiritual success is how the divine will measure my life and reward me. Though selling millions of books and being a best-selling author would be nice, selling enough to live comfortably through my retirement years is my vision of success. Helping others achieve their version of success is also my measure of success. I seem to hear and answer the call of others who ask me to help.
Is my “sweet spot” or my “Why” that of being needed? Can it be that simple?
It’s just something I’ve always done and yet have a hard time expressing.
Janine said in her article, to ask oneself “…at least five times: why is it important, why is that significant, why do you believe that, why do you feel strongly about your belief, and why does that matter to you?”
Are there anymore specific helps to guide us as I develop my sincere “Why?”
Of course, many people share articles and lists and guides to find your “Why.”
There is no excuse for us not to go on the journey, dig up clues, discover what our purpose is.
Knowing our “what” and our “how” is not as important as knowing our “Why.”
“Why” will move us, keep us focused, helps us serve, and enlighten others, lift the “hands that hang down.”
Janine offers a “Purpose Pack” to help you Discover Why.
I advise all of you to discover what key milestones from your past life had an impact and now affects your present “Why.”
It’s quite interesting. I especially like her “Visceral Verbs.” Beth Barany, my book coach, suggests we pick an action verb to best describe ourselves, and our “Why.”
I believe my “Why” is still a photo coming into focus, but I’m more and more drawn to becoming a “Change Agent.”
I am passionate about receiving the divine love meant for me, as well as the love of my family and others. That’s what my purpose is. Also, to be recognized and appreciated, and to “…help others find the best life has to offer them, so they can achieve greater things,” according to Janine.
It does have a little heart-pounding sensation when I say all that out loud.
So, what’s your “Why”?
Share in the comments below.
Award-winning author, Carol Malone writes new pulp-fiction suspense kissed with romance to rocket readers into adventure. When not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, or watching Dodger Baseball, or reruns of Psyche. She lives with her sci-fi author husband on the coast of California where she enjoys the mild weather all year round. Carol adores connecting with her readers and invites them to chat about romance, food, and sports on her website.
Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night: http://amzn.to/1sm0Xkf
Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night Christmas: http://amzn.to/1yOtlAH
Summer Holiday: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XFTTN4M/