For some people, finding the purpose that drives them – finding their Why – is a joyful and fulfilling quest.
For me, it was an exercise in frustration. I’d write one Why statement after another, each time thinking I’d got it just right but soon the fit would seem all wrong and I’d have to start again.
Then, just this week, I found something that helped me understand the clear and simple purpose that has always driven me. I found my Why – only, it didn’t start as mine.
Before I tell you more, I have to go back a little.
The road was long
In 2015, I wanted to return to my journalism roots without going back into the media. Since leaving my job as bureau producer for A Current Affair, I’d done two degrees and dipped into school teaching. But I realised my heart really lay in creating content and sharing. I wanted back in.
I briefly considered freelancing – hence the business card – but when I was offered a job in marketing and communications, I jumped across.
But it wasn’t enough. I was still obsessed with how people could create better content and communications that would not only show their best but also be more worthy of an audience’s time.
So I kept writing and thinking, learning and sharing. I kept blogging and did some consulting work.
Over time I got comfortable with my own voice, which wasn’t easy for someone trained to stay at arm’s length from the story. All this was progress – but I still couldn’t explain why I spent so much time doing all that writing and thinking, learning and sharing.
Until I read this in The New Yorker:
I believe that no one does anything well, including living life, unless there’s a decent purpose to it. For me, that purpose always has been to show our connectedness… Jane Ferguson, Running Nowhere in Beirut, The New Yorker – 30 April.
And it hit me – connectedness is what rings true with me too.
So I borrowed that line from Jane Ferguson, and I turned it slightly towards me and found my Why.
My Why is to encourage connectedness.
As a journalist, as a teacher, as a parent and as a communications specialist. I want to show people how they can use words and pictures to see the best in themselves and in others.
There’s nothing wrong with borrowing. Borrowing and building. If you are struggling to articulate your Why maybe the words of others could hold the seed of an idea for you.