Finding my “why”…
According to Simon Sinek we should all try to ‘start with why.’ Anyone who has read his books may perhaps agree that finding our ‘why’ is easier said than done. Over the last several years I have attempted to answer this question for myself.
Like many people who have worked in the corporate world for most of their careers and then opened a business, there is that big question “why am I doing this?” After all, there are easier things to do. In fact, as we go through our careers, much of our spare time is spent thinking about what we will do when we retire. These thoughts tend to focus on leisure activities. However, when we get nearer to the age of retirement, not all of us want to live a life of leisure. We want a change of the hours and the work routine perhaps, but we don’t want to drop out of work.
For some of us there is a lot of unfinished business. Let’s face it, throughout our career we have to make choices. We can’t do everything. For example, nobody can be a full time doctor and a building engineer at the same time. Our careers take us down certain routes and even within a relatively narrow niche there are still only so many opportunities we can take advantage of. As we get nearer to the retirement age we might reflect on opportunities we would have liked to pursue. We may ask ourselves, “could I have done that?” We may try to find out by testing ourselves.
Of course with any test there is the fear of failure, the feeling of “imposter syndrome.” Whilst this is natural, it can be overwhelming. We then have another choice. Do I carry on or do I continue? The answer to that question is perhaps found by answering the ‘why’ question.
In my case when I look back on the companies I worked for, the jobs I did, the qualifications that I studied for, I think it is fair to say that there was a good mix. I think that I was more suited to some work and some cultures than others. I also think that I was both lucky and unlucky with the timing of certain opportunities. In short there were both successes and failures. Fortunately, far more of the former than the latter.
The one thing that was a constant in all of the roles, whatever the outcome was the desire and application to make a success of something. There is an excitement in learning, implementing knowledge and training, and of collaborating and working with others. However, more than anything there is that wonderful feeling of knowing that you are getting better at something. From being totally useless and overwhelmed, to finding ones feet, then getting better, to becoming recognised as a really strong performer, perhaps even the best in your office, or region.
Quite simply I want the same feeling that I had when I was performing at my best during my career in employment. That is what is driving me forward. That is my ‘why.’