Recently I was working with a friend to discover her “why” for her practice. A practice owner for over 20 years, she was enduring the hard work of running the practice but without an ability to clearly articulate her purpose for her labors. She was working so hard with her people to “get it”. During our conversation I realized there was clarity work to do on her part to be a growing leader.
We shifted the conversation to why she was working so hard…“What made it worth it to stick with this practice so long?”. I asked her, “Who are you now and who do you want to be?” We discussed that for some time. Then I asked, “What do you value in your practice?” We wrote down the things that she valued most in what her practice provided and what she valued most in the people that were on her team. She shared with me that she valued hard work and discipline. Finally, we explored the question “What do you really want for your patients and your teammates?” She responded that she wanted hope for a future that was better than what her patients were presently experiencing and to help make her teammate’s dreams come true. It was a powerful and emotional exercise because it took the focus away from what she wanted out of people and placed it back on the reasons she started her practice in the first place. At her core, she wanted to help people make their dreams come true.
Discovering or re-establishing your personal “why” is a critical component to running a successful business or finding success in your life. It clarifies the reason you get out of bed every day. Our lives may be hectic, busy, and filled with important activity every day, but without the clarity of “why”, we are floating through life in a far less meaningful way than we could be.
Everyone wants meaning and fulfillment from life. These are basic desires and needs we all have. Few take the time to explore how to fully achieve them. This focused exploration and discovery are the great separators among leaders. When we clarify our “why”, it dictates
- The people we will let into our organizations
- The stories we tell ourselves
- The truths we believe
- The values we hold dearly
- The business decisions we must make
- How we define success in our business
- How we use the gifts we have and how we decide to share them with the world
In short, it is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Clarity of our “why” inspires us to be greater today than we were yesterday. Getting the most out of yourself personally, and out of the work you perform, hinges more on the effort you put into determining why you are doing that thing, than it does on what you are doing. Find that clarity and you will unlock your future and the futures of the people you are privileged to lead.
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