“Once you tap into who you are, the doing explodes.”
- Julia Ford-Carther, founder of the Self Love Formula, Episode 18
I think most of us are so quick to jump into doing something, whether its starting a project, a career path, a business endeavor, etc that we don’t take the time to focus on being – figuring out who we are and why we want to do that thing. Here are some tips for figuring out the Who, What and Why of your life using my own journey as an example:
WHO (your values)
Ask these questions:
Who am I?
What makes me feel alive?
What is important to me?
How do I want to feel in life?
What do I value?
Example: Before I started this podcast I had a mini identity crisis and had to work really hard to tackle this first question. In the beginning of August, before I started Be Real, my identity was entirely wrapped up in the idea that I was going to be an architect (see episode 01 Let’s Get Real), so when I realized that’s not what I wanted, I didn’t know what to identify with anymore. After re-examining my life and re-defining my values I realized what was important to me and what makes me feel alive was creating inspirational experiences for others in order to have a positive impact in their lives and in the world. I also defined how I wanted to feel: connected to a strong purpose, close to my friends and family, and grounded and centered in myself. I cannot explain how much clarity this gave me, especially after feeling lost and generally unhappy about my life for so long. My self-realization and self-discovery hasn’t stopped there, but defining those things really helped me move forward.
WHAT (your vehicle)
Ask these questions:
What am I good at?
What do I enjoy doing?
What skills do I have that most other people don’t?
What do I naturally excel at?
Example: This was actually pretty easy for me. One thing I have been good at my whole life is talking – especially striking up conversations with new people and being able to relate to almost anyone. This skill comes from moving all my life and having to adapt to new schools, cultures & customs. So, it didn’t feel like a big deal to reach out to complete strangers online and ask if I could interview them. Although I had never formally interviewed anyone, I had enough confidence in myself and my conversational abilities to make it work and learn on the job.
Maybe you’re thinking, well ‘talking’ doesn’t really seem like a skill, its not measurable. However, one of the most powerful things I discovered was that skills outside school or the workplace like social and emotional skills ARE valuable and important. So think outside the box, maybe you’re good at science and math but you’re also really good at listening. How can you use that to your advantage?
WHY (your purpose)
Ask these questions:
How do I want to affect others?
What motivates me?
What outcomes do I desire in life?
Example: Defining a clear purpose is never easy. While I had a strong conviction that I wanted to start this podcast and share a message, I had a hard time distilling down what that message should be. Despite all the ideas I generated, I knew the purpose/mission had to be paired down to something very simple - one line that would tell everything. After a lot of writing, journaling and discussing with close friends, I came up with the title, Be Real (essentially, a call to action that encourages people to get honest with themselves because I believe that is the first step to figuring out what you want to do in life.) From there I was able to define my mission: Be Real - a podcast for millennials who want to live a more meaningful life.
This will come!!!
Example: Once I nailed down my Who, What and Why, the execution of Be Real came naturally. Because I had defined my values, honed in my skills and realized the purpose of the podcast, I was able to start reaching out to guests who I knew would add value to the show. I was able to come up with a branding aesthetic that would compliment my content and who I am as a person. Then I figured out all the logistical and technical things – editing the podcast, getting it on iTunes and Stitcher, using marketing platforms like Instagram and Twitter, etc. I am still figuring out the How every day, and its definitely not easy, but in my opinion it is essential to know everything I’m doing with Be Real is directly connected to my values and purpose.
If this post helped you or you have other suggestions for how to define your Who/What/Why of your life let me know in the comments below!