Full disclosure: the information here barely scratches the surface of this powerful topic. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and reading, and this is what I have learned about the process. If you have information you would like to add, I would love to hear about your journey in finding your “why.” Comment below or send me an email!
Finding your “why” is so powerful, but I see few people bothering with it. I don’t blame them. It’s difficult to discover and is a continual process of failure and growth. If you’re not ready for some deep soul-searching and demon-fighting, you won’t succeed. But if you can be brave, you can uncover something within yourself that seemed so far-fetched before you’ll feel like you morphed into a completely different person.
Finding your “why” = finding why you are here. What are you meant to do? What do you want to do? What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning and work all hours of the night pursuing? If the answer is nothing right now, that’s okay. I spent a lot of years wanting to sleep my days away because nothing excited me. Just because you’re there now, doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever. But you do have to put in some work if you want your life to excite you.
I actually found my “why” years ago and never even knew it. In high school, the idea of being a personal trainer sparked my interest. I had just started to get into fitness myself and was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. Learning more about health and fitness seemed like a good route to go. However, I wasn’t committed to the idea then and let negative influences steer me away from it.
I forgot about being a personal trainer and started to explore other options. I quickly found myself working for individuals that I had little to no respect for. I am a fairly stubborn person, and tend to see things in black and white. These people were trying to blur the lines and take me with them, and I didn’t want anything to do with that. I decided then that I would never be happy working for people who I didn’t truly respect. I wanted to become someone better, and embody the ideals that I saw were lacking in the world. However, I didn’t know how to do that.
As I was working for these people and wondering how they possibly ended up as managers and business owners, I was also working in fitness. I’d kept my job as a CrossFit trainer part-time alongside these other jobs, mostly as a way to keep me sane but also because making a career of it sounded fun. I just wasn’t sure if it was possible yet. I have social anxiety, and back then it was still pretty intense. Leading classes was tough and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep it up. However, for the first time, I’d found something I was so passionate about that I was willing to push outside my comfort zone and give it a shot.
For me, that was the most important part in discovering my “why.” If you can find something that excites you to the point where you’ll put yourself in tremendously uncomfortable situations to make it work, you’ve found something special. That’s something to hold on to. That could very well be your “why.” I’ve found myself reaching out and talking to people, meeting with strangers, sharing my thoughts on the internet, when just last year I was trying to avoid social interaction at all costs. I found ways to work through and around what I consider to be one of my most limiting character traits.
When I decided to commit to a career in fitness, I remembered the first time I ever thought of being a personal trainer. It blew my mind that I was returning to the idea, that I had actually been right the first time and if I’d just had the tools and stubbornness I do now I probably would have pursued it. But, everything in it’s own time, and all that. Just the fact that I’d had the idea before gave me the confidence to pursue it further. It felt familiar, like things were coming full circle, and all I had to do was follow along.
This was another huge step in finding my “why” - realizing I needed to listen to those little voices in my head. Intuition is a powerful thing. People will take alternate routes home or not board planes based on a “bad feeling” that they had. Personally, I believe it’s God’s way of keeping us safe and pushing us in the direction we’re meant to go, but you can call it whatever you want. The bottom line is, those feelings are important. You might not be able to articulate why or how, but you need to listen to them. It pays off in big ways.
So that’s my two cents on finding your “why.” The hardest part is getting there. Once you do, it’s pretty clear and often hard to ignore. Just trust your gut. Be smart, get to know yourself, and listen. Be curious, see what comes your way, and get excited!