'Wanted: Skills, Discipline, and Strength of Character'
May. 27, 2014 | Cindy Lee
I know why I do what I do. Do you know why YOU do what you do?
I'm inspired to write this because I'm a bit troubled that people get stuck answering this question and sometimes prefer to avoid it altogether.
Why do I do what I do?
You really want to ask yourself this question, and regularly. It requires that you stop for a minute to identify and actually articulate what you are doing, at least for yourself if for no one else. It also forces you to give account for the things that you do - the "why am I doing what I'm doing?" question for which I hope you have an answer.
There are not many instances in LIFE when we should be ok with saying, "I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing." I'll explain more below, but if you don't know, really push yourself to understand why. Without judging your reason(s), at least make sure you have ONE because we can work from there. When you're not living in integrity and there's inconsistency in your life, it damages something precious inside that is not easily repaired.
If you're not used to checking in on yourself like this, let me encourage you to do it right now and give you a super simple example of how you can do it quickly.
Ask yourself two main questions, and brainstorm 10 quick answers for each.
Here's me, in the context of my work. My job is coaching people to solidify their core values and clarify their career paths, to develop management skills and establish an authentic leadership style for their lives. But I also see "what I do" as a reflection of the skills and actions I put into play at any given moment:
1) What do I do? (in no particular order)
2) Why do I do what I do? (again, in no particular order)
Push yourself to come up with at least 10 for each. There's no need to judge them - eg, for #2 your bullets can range from "It's what I was made to do" to "It affords me the lifestyle I want" to "It's what my family needs right now." Other reasons might be, "I like the free food" or "I'm loyal to my boss." If you can't come up with 10, ask yourself why not, and really dig deeper to come up with a serious answer for that. As mentioned earlier, this is one of those instances where saying, "I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing," is NOT an acceptable final answer.
If your answers for WHY in #2 highlight a sense of integrity or meaning or joy like in my example, then you ought to celebrate! That's one way that I refer to enjoying life in your sweetspot. It can be elusive at times, so for the moment you definitely want to commemorate and savor it. Woohoooooo!
If your answers don't feel fulfilling even as you write them out, do something to diagnose what's off and to get on track. And do it quick. Acting inconsistently with your values and not living in integrity can quickly unravel your sense of meaning and leave you feeling unsettled. I encounter quite a lot of frustrated people who have gone for too long this way, but the good news is that the journey back can be redeeming. Life can be so much more fulfilling. The sooner you start, the quicker you can be refreshed and back on track.