“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
As we launch into a new year, I’ve been noticing “It’s never too late to achieve success” posts on social media and many have listed the late-in-life accomplishments of such household names like Julia Child, who didn’t publish her first cookbook until age 49; composer Philip Glass, who was working as a plumber and a cabbie even as his career was starting to take off at age 42; and Morgan Freeman, who didn’t act in a major motion picture until he was 50.
So how do we find our why, our dharma, our vocation, or our sacred duty in life? Ahhh. That’s the million dollar question. For some of us, we may find our sacred duty early on, for others it may take some time, but either way, once you’ve found the why it gives you purpose that will launch you to great heights.
For those of us who are entrepreneurs – or dreaming of being entrepreneurs – our why is the driving force that keeps us moving forward. It’s the why that propels us even when everything else seems to be screaming at us to put the brakes on our seemingly “stupid” idea. Making the leap into entrepreneurship may mean working a day job while you get your dream business off the ground. This is not as uncommon as you might think. Poet TS Eliot was also a banker and author Kurt Vonnegut sold cars. Living this dual life of balancing your passion and day job, all while carving out time for your friends, family, and exercise will be difficult. There’s no doubt that you may feel overwhelmed, but that’s where your why comes in. If you haven’t examined your why, try this exercise:
First, find a comfortable, quiet seat, close your eyes, and take 10-20 deep breaths to clear and focus your mind. Next, write down your answers to these questions:
- What were your favorite things to play or pretend as a child?
- What were your favorite activities in school?
- What things, activities or ideas get you excited today?
- What are your commitments that you can’t imagine giving up?
Likely, after you’ve finished answering the above questions, a pattern or two will begin to emerge. The theme(s) you see should point you in the direction of your why. You’ll know you’ve hit upon your why because you’ll immediately feel it. You’ll feel energized and maybe even get butterflies in your stomach. Use that energy to bust through any roadblocks you’ve had or to take a new, somewhat scary, step toward your dream. Take that first step now. Who knows? This may be your Best Day Ever!