This is the 27th post in my 30 for 30/30 series where I am publishing a new post each day for the next 30 days within a 30-minute window without much of a plan. You can read about why I’m doing this by clicking this link.
In yesterday’s essay, I urged you to begin work on the “why” that backs up your dream. We often focus too much on the “what,” worry about the “how,” and not enough time on the “why.”
The “why” is critical to understand as it’s the reason behind you having your dream in the first place. It’s the “why” that will carry you through times of challenge. The “why” will pick you up when you fall. It’s the core belief is at the core of your dream.
My dream and the “why” behind it
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to the service to others. It’s in this role that I feel most fulfilled and being in service is where I can act on my most meaningful work. Whether it’s through writing, teaching, or simply showing kindness to another, being in service is where I am most fully myself.
My first career was in both medicine and education where I served patients suffering from all types of infirmities and counseled students entering college and university.
With this as a backdrop, let’s review the what, how, and why as defined by Simon Sinek in his book, Start With Why (adapted for our purposes), then I’ll get to my own “why.”:
- WHAT – this is what you do when you are fulfilling your dream – feeding the hungry, healing the sick, easing the loneliness of seniors, etc.
- HOW – these are the mechanisms by which your dream is made possible; the tools and systems you use to bring about the WHAT.
- WHY – is the purpose behind it all; the reason why you have a dream in the first place and it’s always based on a core belief or conviction of the heart -most likely, your “why” is your sacred calling.
Most of us make the mistake of thinking about our dream in the wrong order. We decide on our “what” first, then figure out “how” to do it, with the “why” being more of an afterthought.
Simon Sinek suggests starting with “why.”
- My WHY – I can imagine a world whose inhabitants are free of suffering; a world where people lead lives of fulfillment and meaning, not only because they choose to live with less, but because they have done the deeper work of discovering their sacred calling in order to engage their most meaningful work; By doing so, they can change themselves and the world.
- My HOW – I act on my “why” by writing books and other materials about how to embrace a life of simplicity, teaching others how to find greater meaning in their day-to-day existence by trimming their possessions and living more with less, how to spend time in silence and adopt simplicity thereby helping them change themselves and their world in the process.
- My WHAT – I’m a writer.
For me, my dream comes down to serving others and it’s made possible by acknowledging my sacred calling and engaging my most meaningful work.
It’s taken me decades of work to get to this level of clarity around my dream. Ever since I was a 10-year-old boy walking aimlessly to and fro on the school playground asking himself the big existential questions, I’ve been grappling with my “why.”
But it is work worth doing.