What is Your Why?

Have you ever wondered what the meaning is behind the things you spend your time doing? What your purpose is? We know what we are doing and how we do it, but many of us never take the time to find the WHY behind our actions. If you find yourself not passionate about what you do, or no longer find the joy in it…you may want to examine the WHY behind it.

I spent 8 years as the Clinical Supervisor for a Community Mental Health Agency. I spent my time meeting the demands my boss asked of me day after day, that I did not have the time to ask myself WHY I was doing it. Eventually, I could not find any aspect of my job that made me happy. I was miserable and exhausted. I had lost all passion and enthusiasm, and I fell into a deep depression.

The company I was working for had stopped caring about the quality of the service it provided and only cared about the quantity of people we served. I spent my time trying to motivate my therapists to meet unrealistic expectations that were founded solely on the amount of money our office made each month.

I became a social worker because of my desire to help people and became despondent when that no longer mattered to management. This disconnect is what finally motivated me to look for employment with an agency whose values matched my own. Most people who are unhappy with their jobs struggle because they are at odds with the mission statement of their organization.

I ended up becoming the Supervisor for the Behavioral Health Department of our County’s insurance company. When I started my job, my new boss had me attend a Leadership Program in which I was introduced to Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why! By attending the workshop, I was given the opportunity to identify my core values and develop a working model of my WHY statement and it changed almost every aspect of my life.

“Find Your Why” is a book for all the people who want to learn their why…for all the people who want to build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, to feel safe when they are there and to return home fulfilled by the work they do.”

The lecture began by having us watchvideo :How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek It is the 3rd most viewed TED talk of all time.


STEP 1:

*Ask yourself a few questions and write down the answers. You can also download the value assessment and inventory to find out what values you hold dear to your heart.

  1. Who in your life has helped make you the person you are today (coach, mentor, boss, teacher)? Write down a specific time when they exemplified what you admired most about them.
  2. Think of a day at work when, as you headed home, you might have said to yourself, “I would have done that for free!” What happened that day to make you say that?
  3. What has been a pivotal moment in your life, one where you realized nothing would ever be the same?
  4. At school, what was an experience you loved?
  5. What have you accomplished that you are really proud of?

STEP 2:

When you look at your answers, what personal values stood out and are very important to you? Write down your top 5. When I did this exercise my top 5 values were: Family, Equality/Diversity, Service/Helping Others, Personal Development, and Honesty/Trust.

STEP 3: Identify Your Behavior

Prioritize your top five values and write down the behavior that allows you to manifest your value. What do you do to live and breathe these values? For example, since Helping Others was in my top 5, my behavior is speaking about behavioral issues in the workplace in order to destigmatize mental health. For Personal Development, my behavior is reading books and signing up for various continuing education programs.

Step 4: Develop your Personal WHY Statement:

To ____________, so that _________________.

My five personal WHY statements are:

1. To help others realize their potential, so that they have the courage and support to pursue their dreams.

2. To honor and respect a variety of cultures and lifestyles, so that everyone has equal opportunities.

3. To have faith and belief in the integrity and sincerity of others, so that I am viewed as a person of honor, truthfulness, and fairness.

4. To help people in need, so that I can make a difference and contribute to the betterment of the world.

5. To continually search for opportunities to learn about myself, so that I am challenging myself to grow and allow me to make the most of my talents and skills.

There is No Point in Doing Anything Which Lacks a Profound WHY

After attending this lecture, I sat down with my boss and shared with her my personal WHY statements and we compared them to my job duties and the company’s mission statement. The end result was that she gave me the opportunity to look at aspects of my job that were not in alignment with my WHY statements and instead take on other projects that were. I love my job and feel I am fulfilling my purpose. And because my work fulfills my passions, I am a much happier and productive employee.

What is your WHY? Please comment on this post with your personal WHY statements, I would love to read them!

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years working in Community mental Health. I currently Supervise the Behavioral Health Benefit for an insurance company. I speak publicly on issues that affect mental health in the workplace.

5 Comments

  • Kiersty A Lucero

    Thank you so much for sharing this exercise, I can’t tell you how helpful this has been for someone like myself, who often finds themselves in a ‘funk’ and wondering what the heck I’m doing.

    My five WHYs:

    1. To persevere through struggle so that I can be a light in the darkness for others.
    2. To continue growing as a parent so that my kids have a mother they can be proud of and not someone who gave birth without consideration for life.
    3. To build a relationship with my Lord so that He can guide my actions and my words when I am at my lowest as well as when I’m feeling ‘together.’
    4. To continue learning how I can make a real impact for families in need so that others not only have a helping hand but hopefully enough strength to pay it forward one day.
    5. To connect and help spread the truth about local cultures/tribes and Natives so that future generations don’t lose their heritage and the history of their people.

    • admin01

      Kiersty-

      Thank you so much for reading my blog. And I love ALL of your WHY’s!!! It makes such a difference when you are able to a life that is congruent with your WHY. I hope you enjoy reading some of my future posts.

      Functional Randi

  • Sandra Riguzzi

    Hi Randi – So glad to see you are blogging! I love this and am working on the answers while trying to figure out what to write my blog on for tomorrow and you did give me an idea. I may have a link back to you. If not, I will soon because I am not sure I can get this together by tomorrow. I have so many whys – when I read through yours and Kiersty’s, I can say I agree with most of those. You really gave me a lot to think about … Thank you! Sandy

    • admin01

      Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I still am not totally sure what I’m doing, so this means a lot!

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