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How to Find Your Why

Find Your Why Source:

As in professional and private life I was always wondering what drives people, what motivates each one of us. According to bestseller author Simon Sinek everyone has exactly one specific inner drive - the "Why" - mostly fully developed after our teenager time. Unfortunately, most of us have never made it explicit. To know your "Why" early in your life has a major advantage: You can validate every decision in your life against your true inner purpose. Most probably you will be more successful throughout your life. Thanks to the book "Find Your Why" I found my "Why". Read more to get to know how I came to my personal purpose.

The Interviewer

Altogether the method is quite simple the hard part is to find the right partner that inverviews you to find your "Why". This person has to do interview you about your life and by synthesizing your "Why" out of your personal stories. This means your partner should have some skills in actively listening and asking the right questions and no fear of getting deeper if the first answer is too shallow. Additionally, your interviewer should not be a too close friend, because he or she knows you too good or it could be awkward. Ideally it is someone where you have a good feeling sharing intimate expericences in your life. It should be a person who you can trust. Of course it is possible to choose more than one sparring partner, to experiment with the outcomes.

The Method

Peaks & Valleys

Your job is to tell the interviewer stories about your life. This is quite vague, but there is a good support with the method "peak and valleys". Think about your life as a timeline and write down the emotionally most positive and negative life events. The more positive the higher it is above the timline, the more negative the lower it is below the timeline. If it helps, make it like a flow throughout your life and connect the events. For each event the interviewer asks questions to go deeper what makes this events so emotional. The goal is to gather underlying themes. The interviewer should make a list of themes. If the list is too large it can be reduced to items that were stated more often. If it is still too much the interviewer can ask you about which themes are more relevant to you if you have to choose in seconds.

Development of your Why

The interviewer tries to find themes that fit as a contribution, and themes that fit as an impact. Sometimes it is obvious which themes are fitting together as the perfect "Why" statement. Sometimes it is more a trial and error approach to build several "Why" statements and discuss it together. In my case the first defined "Why" statement was nearly fitting perfectly. The "Why" statement consists of two parts: Contribution and Impact.

Why Statement Source:

My personal contribution is to motivate people to work as a team, whereas my impact is that the team work is resulting in mastering big challenges together. The full sentence is: "Motivate people to work as a team to master big challenges together". The key word is "together" which means that I have the most passion when I support the team as a "playing captain" and not as "non-playing coach". Of course the "Why" statement needed some refinement of phrases after I evaluated the first draft with my friends. This step is highly recommended to validate your "Why" statement, and refine it in iterations.

Other Results: The How Statements

What is happening with the other themes not part of your "Why" that are also a representation of your most emotional events in your life. Some of them can be considered as your "How". Normally you have more than one "How", but only one consistent "Why" that do not change throughout life. The "How" statements define how are you fulfilling your "Why". In my case these "How" statements were extracted by the interview:

How #1: By recognizing individual talents unlock the full team's potential.
How #2: By focusing on agile practices put people and their interactions first.
How #3: By integrating sustainability as a core principle having sustained impact.


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