|Image found here|
I sat in on a leadership lecture about a year ago—one that changed my life this week.
This was the essence of the lecture: Picture yourself, or your home, or your company as a circle. Every good company, every good entity, every successful person, has a mission statement: they know who they are, what they do and how they do it. But the great company, the great home, the great person knows why too. The why is at the core of the circle, and every how, what, and ultimately who radiates from that why. Without the why, everything else is empty and affects only surface-level change or success. But a great why results in a great who, what, and how.
Companies with great whys go places; those without them, don't. It's the same for people.
My first thought upon walking out of that lecture was, Dang, I'd better marry a guy with a pretty amazing Why.
But I didn't know my own why until this week. I’ve always had a sense of who I am, who I want to be. But I’d never coherently connected the dots.
The details aren’t important. Suffice it to say that I was where I supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there (or as close to that as possible), with a seeking heart and willing mind. I’m not very good about having all three of those conditions most of the time, but this week I was trying.
And I found my personal mission statement. Or, rather, it found me. I discovered why I am who I am. Why I am who I’m trying to become:
I am a girl who has a Father.
I do my best to seek and obey His word every day
Because I want to return home.
That third line is the key for me. It is the reason I do what I do, how I do it. The reason I pray, read my scriptures, go to the temple, keep the commandments, do my best in school, read the books I do, choose the entertainment I choose, wear the clothes I wear, even eat the food I eat, get up and go to bed at the times I do. It’s the reason I get out of bed in the first place. It's the reason I need to learn greater kindness, grace, patience, trust and love.
Granted, a lot of what I do, I do because I'm supposed to. But everything I do from personal conviction, the why is behind it. My goal is to make the why more encompassing than the supposed to.
The why is the core of my identity, my very reason for being. It is my ultimate goal, the dream and hope at the center of my heart—the compass point. My mind bends to it, and my actions follow. My feelings protect, cherish and defend it. I am not perfect in it, but it is what I strive for and seek every day. It is my meaning.
We are amazing, capable of high goals and lofty aspirations and of the work it takes to reach them. Not just some of us. All of us.
We have different abilities, different capacities, different levels of education, financial security, maturity, wisdom, different circumstances—but the same God loves none of us more than the other; He regards none of us more than the other. He’s placed each of us here with the same goal—to do our best to be our best. Our very best. That is all that matters. And that is everything.
I believe we were born for great things. We were designed for the accompanying challenges. Stretching to greatness is our purpose. Standing firm, in storms, in doldrums, in calm seas, is what makes it possible. But if we're to stand firm, we need a strong core — to know who we are, what we stand for and how we do so. But most of all, I think, we need to know why we are who we are, why we do/stand for what we do, and why we stand for/do it the way we do.
Most of all, Why.
God Himself has a why (Moses 1:39). So does His Son. They've got goals at the core of everything They do. They live true to them, in spite of everything. Because of that, we're here — to figure out our own whys and live true to them.
What is your Why? Has it helped you focus your life? How does it help you in the day-to-day grind? What do you define as "the important things" because of it? If you've got examples, I'd love to hear them. I just discovered mine, you see :)
Perhaps you're still looking for it. That's ok; we're all at different places. If you seek it, you'll find it. That's a promise — and not just a promise from a 25-year-old blogger. It's there, your why. At the core. I can't wait for you to discover it!