Before You Do Anything Else, Find Your Why

Posted by Amina AlTai on

There's been a theme in my coaching practice this last month.  

Conversations have gone something like this.  

"My friends are launching XYZ, so I think I should too." 

"I need to make more money, so I'm going to add XYZ to my offering even though it requires a lot of effort and I haven't tested."

And my first question back is, "Why?  What's the goal here?  What is this in service to in the context of your bigger mission?"

And those questions are usually followed by a long, long, super-pregnant pause.  Because truthfully, we don't always revisit our why, or our big juicy mission.  We react.  We get lost in the emotion, the comparison and forget to come back to our true north.  

And sometimes that's totally fine, right?  On occasion we need to get lost to find ourselves and the answer.  But sometimes, when you've gone round in circles so many times you have the spins, it's good to get a grip on your why.  

When coachees come to work with me, this is the first thing we do together.  I ask the below questions to get a sense of their greater mission in the world.  That way, every time we feel compelled to launch something new, take a turn, and evolve, we come back to that why and ensure that whatever we create is in service to this higher mission.  

So if you're wrestling with some big questions in your business, or deciding to change careers, take yourself through the below exercise for a little smidgen of clarity.  Then I invite you to keep these answers front and center so you can always refer back to them.  

Questions: (Got your journal ready?!)

1. What's your mission with this business or your career?  Complete this sentence: I am on a mission to __________ with my work.  Think big here.  You didn't come here to play small.  And if you are playing small, ask yourself what you're afraid of or hiding from?

2. What's the impact you want to have on the world?  Complete this sentence:  The impact I want to have on the world is ____________.  The world will be a better place and I'll have done my job if_______________.

3. What do you value?  Think of pivotal moments in your life where your values were called into question or came to the forefront.   Complete this sentence:  The values I want to uphold with my work and contribution are____________. (And this list can be long or short.  The first time I wrote down my values it was 11 pages long.  Seriously.) 

4. Where is your fire? Finding your fire is like finding an endless fuel supply.  When we are connected to our values and our fire, very few things can get in our way.  A quick way to find your fire is to think about the spaces where you're in conversation that you can't help but use your voice.  It's usually something you are incapable of staying silent on because the information just pours through you.   You might feel heated, impassioned, even angry about these topics.  

5. And once you've gotten clear on all of the above, pressure test your new ideas.  Ask yourself, "does this new body of work/ career/ business/ product/service connect to the bigger mission, values and what you want to impact?" And if not, how can you either connect it to them or decide that it might not be a fit for you right now?

I hope this exercise was clarifying for you.  If you want more direction on starting a new business I invite you into a session or to my digital course, Entreprenourished.  

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