“Finding your why” has become one of the biggest promotional phrases in the motivational space for sometime now. First off, it just sounds good. It’s catchy right? Say it out loud: find your why. It’s kind of clever and yet it’s a little vague but really grabs your attention. But what does it mean? How are so many people making money off of what appears to be seven thousand versions of this very phrase?
It’s because many of us are “seeking.” We’re looking for that “thing” that will push us forward. We’re looking for reasons and as importantly we’re looking for answers. And the moment we see a shred of answer or hope of an answer we rush to the headlines. We rush to buy products that can help us fulfill these voids in our lives. We rush to buy the course that will teach us “the way” to our happiness.
All we have to do to fill these voids is to “find our whys.” What motivates us? What gets us up in the morning each day? What’s going to propel us to work when we don’t want to work? What’s going to get us over that mountain top?
Want the answer? Perhaps the answer lies in nothing. Absolutely nothing. There is no one thing that will “make” you get up each day. There’s no one thing that will get you to work harder than you’ve ever worked. It’s a bunch of things. It’s a million whys. It’s a thousand reasons. So what’s missing in all of this? Maybe, just maybe what’s missing is stillness. Maybe it’s calm. Maybe it’s the acceptance of all of it.
Being OK with no matter what is the secret
So you’ve got your why for today. You say to yourself “my kids are my reason I’m going to push through the day today, and no matter what comes my way, I’m going to get done what I need done because it’s those kids that are going to get me through it.” And you know something? That’s a damned good why. It’s a hell of a reason to get you to do all of the things you promised yourself you were going to do. But there’s one thing you didn’t take into account when you figured out your why this morning.
It’s that not everything goes the way it’s planned. There are inevitable road blocks that get in the way. There’s a call that comes in we didn’t expect. There’s an emergency we never foresaw. A death in the family rattles you to the core. A meteor just hit the earth and you are glued to the news. It doesn’t matter. And then your entire world gets shattered. Your why disappears and you struggle to move forward.
But what if that was OK? What if we not only expected these things but embraced them? What if we allowed them into our lives and just went with them? What if we simply said, “this is all part of it?” Would it then be possible to get back to our bigger pictures with more ease? I argue yes.
Acceptance allows progress and the whys to come into focus again
When you’re crying, cry. When you’re pissed off at something, be pissed off. But it’s more than that. It’s the knowledge that all of it, every single piece of it is normal. That every single piece of it is part of the deal we signed up for when we were born. And perhaps these things happen because if all the time we spent were focused on our “why” we’d go crazy. Ever think about that? If we were so laser focused all of the time maybe we’d eventually break down. Kind of like ticking time bombs ready to go at any moment.
Even the most catastrophic of news is a distraction. Perhaps it’s a needed distraction from the constant attempt to “reel it in” and only make your “why” what counts. Your why and your final goal are just that. Reasons and goals. They don’t have to change. They don’t have to subside. Sure you need to be aware of them, but don’t obsess. Just know they are there. Never let them go. Make them the first thing you think of when you wake up.
But don’t beat yourself up about it when life gets in the way. Life’s always going to get in the way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your destination. If every destination were easy to reach, every single road would be a straight line. But we know that’s just not the way it is. What we do know however, is that when we’re trying to get somewhere, that destination never leaves our heads.
It’s not like when you plan on taking a trip to California from New York that all of a sudden because you get into some turbulence that you assume you’re not going to make it to California. You accept that turbulence as part of the journey. And hell, sometimes that turbulence is a welcomed distraction. But in the end, you still know you’re going to California.
Accept the turbulence. Accept the distractions. But don’t lose site of the destination.