“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
The above quote by poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has improved the way I live my life and do my business. Why? You ask. Because this quote has helped me answer one very important question: “What is your why?”
Articulating your why is a difficult endeavor, even for the most enlightened. To answer this question, you must know what you want and what you’re passionate about. To know your why is to be relentlessly honest with yourself. Maybe you know what you want, but don’t know how to get there. Conversely, maybe you have no idea what drives you. Maybe you are someone who consistently puts the needs of others before your own. Maybe you know what you want but are afraid to voice it because you want to avoid judgment.
The most important question to ask yourself is: “Why do you do what you do?” Without knowing our why, we miss out on life because we do not have a good understanding of our core values and passions.
For a very long time, I could not conceptualize my why. To help me answer this question, I thought about Angelou’s profound and perceptive observation. I asked myself: “Do my clients and business partners think of my business as a place to buy a product or use a service? Or, more importantly, do I make them feel safe and secure? Do they have a good experience when they spend time with me? Do they trust me?
I started to think about how people—colleagues, business partners and clients—should feel about me, and my personal brand. I realized that it wasn’t so much about the loan process as much as it was about the experience. I realized that I’m not trying to sell people anything. I do what I do because I want my clients to feel confident that I will be by their side, every step of the way, as they navigate the biggest purchase they will ever make.
After I came to this realization, I understood that everyone’s purpose is a very personal and individual interpretation. Your why is not the same as my why. You why is not your company’s mission statement. Your why is not the degree your parents insisted you have. And so it goes.
Work life isn’t a cakewalk, even for the Elon Musks of the world. At one point or another we will indubitably feel consumed and helpless by the circumstance we find ourselves in. By defining the why, it makes the how much more bearable and gives us renewed pliability and grit when things get unbearable.
Today, more than ever, we have a desire to find purpose in our work. Today, we strive for something greater—whether it’s working with inspiring people or engaging in meaningful causes.
I will end with this. Do not feel discouraged if you do not know your why. You deserve the life you love. You deserve the life that makes you happy. Don’t be shy to start or continue on the amazing journey to find your why because when you do, life will be that much sweeter.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” ― Maya Angelou
“He who has a why can endure any how.” ― Frederick Nietzsche
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ― Nelson Mandela
Happy Why Hunting.
Photo taken by the fabulous Ryan Greenleaf www.ryangreenleaf.com
Thanks for reading!