I have also known that nothing I’ve been doing has really hit the spot. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed many of the roles I’ve had in my career so far, it’s just that I’ve felt like something was missing. The easiest way to explain it is that I’ve always felt like I should be doing something more, that I’m not living up to my potential.
So I didn’t start this process from scratch, but I have never made such a sustained and focused effort on trying to answer this question for myself. I think that there was always a little part of me that was afraid to find out the answer to the question, because once you know I think that requires you to do something about it.
This is a simplified chart showing process I went through to find my why
The steps to my why
In simpler detail the steps I took were:
- Re-watching Simon and Tony’s TED talks
- Going through both of the websites and reading/watching more (lots of note taking)
- Getting my DISC and Values Indexes from Tony’s website
- Reading Simon’s book (full of really valuable prompts and thoughts) and listening to Tony’s free introduction audio (that was the tiring one)
- Considering a lot of prompts from Tony’s talk, especially outlining a couple of my blueprints
- From Simon, and a little bit of Tony, I listed all of my past jobs and the things that worked – bits I liked and things they gave me
- Came up with the list that was in my Starting to outline my drive post
- Spent time considering when I have been most fulfilled in my life – my RAAF career
- From this I had my first clear epiphany (wasn’t a surprise) – I want to make a career out of writing and designing things that help others understand
- Serendipity stepped in with Peter van Uhm’s talk, which made me think a lot about the parts of my RAAF job that didn’t fit my values – outlined in my Living in the grey post
- Combined with 10, Simon prompted me to think about my values and beliefs. I came up with a list of my values and realised that a very big driver for me is social justice
- Last list was the careers that I have thought about pursuing at some stage (curator, librarian, teacher, graphic designer, copywriter, technical writer, any sort of writer). I listed from this the reasons why I’ve considered them in the past. I came up with three words – Design. Educate. Inspire.
- From all of this work I sat down and went through all of the notes written throughout the process and came up with a draft Why (Purpose, Belief, Cause). The Purpose has been slightly refined in the past few days – To help people understand our world a little better and make life easier. The Belief Life should be as fair as possible and everyone should have the opportunity to reach their potential and Cause Trying to make society more equal and help people see their own abilities/strengths/value have remained pretty much the same.
This process did not happen in a vacuum, so the realisations that I have already made about myself through this project as a whole and my three words for 2012 [Do. Share. Inspire.] definitely contributed to the outcome of this process.
If you have always struggled to work out what you think your purpose or direction should be in the world then I would recommend this sort of process. In the end I found Simon’s approach to be more in sync with what I was trying to achieve, although Tony’s talk and the content from his site did definitely provide some things for me to consider.
I feel like this is pretty much there. It may not be perfect but it feels right, so while I could probably play around with the semantics for months, the general meaning and how it feels in my head is right.
One of the things that came out of all of this was that I had never consciously thought about how my career needs to really align with my why (well everything does really). I’ve always known that I don’t expect my career to fully satisfy my purpose but I had never thought about how misaligned some of my roles have been. Then again, without knowing my why before this time that isn’t very surprising. Some to think of it, this also explains why my two marriages were destined for failure… but enough about me.
I guess I understand a bit more about why I’m doing this project, and a lot of the activities that I have done/plan to do. It seems that I am doing this just as much for all of you as I am for me, but maybe at some level I knew that anyway.