Why You Must Upgrade Your "Why You Do What You Do"

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Why you do what you do?

The purpose of that question is to make you think about the impact that you bring to others through your work. By not taking the time to answer this question, your work’s “why” will default to one of the following reasons—per Patric Bet David’s evolution of why [1]:

You do what you do for:

  • Survival: pay your rent, food, and other bills.
  • Status: more beautiful car, own a house, keep up with the Joneses.
  • Freedom: make more money by working less to free up more time.

These are people’s most popular “why they do what they do.” But if you want to optimize for happiness and fulfillment, you’ll need to upgrade to the ultimate “why,” something bigger than yourself—”a purpose.”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to make ends meet or reach financial freedom. But it should not be the leading “why” behind your work. In tactical terms, here’s what the upgrade looks like:

From:

I’m Alonso, and I’m building personal development resources and programs for people who want to improve their lives so that “I can achieve financial freedom.”

To:

I’m Alonso, and I’m building personal development resources and programs for people who want to improve their lives so that “they can achieve their goals.”

The main difference is that these type of statements affect the focus of everything you do. For example, by starting with a non-self-serving why, I get to love what I do today for a living —running digital marketing programs at a sales training company—even when I’m not yet building personal development resources and programs full-time.

That’s because I still get to help the owners of the company I work at to achieve their goals. So as long as I’m in the business of helping others achieve their goals, I’m living my purpose. There’s no waiting for something better, or more fulfilling. It’s all part of the same purpose-driven journey.

So, why you do what you do?

Reference

  1. The Evolution of Your Why