I have a confession. Last week when I sat down to write the Breadcrumb Trail, I wrote an incredibly long piece on things I found to be the scariest in the world today. I’ll get to what they were in a moment. First, I’d like to share why I didn’t publish that piece.
I write with the intent to inspire others. I write with the intent to inform people, based on information I’ve personally learned and my own experiences. I write with the intent to be God honoring, and influence others to open their hearts to Jesus. That’s my purpose. That’s my WHY. And yes, I also write the Breadcrumb Trail for myself because writing makes me feel free.
I realized that the content of what I wrote didn’t do any of those things. There was not an inspiring message or victory story. There were not any lessons learned. My attempt at honoring God sounded more like acting high and mighty and full of righteousness that I certainly don’t have. And I didn’t feel free. I felt fired up, annoyed and irritated.
Pro Tip: If you say “I’m not trying to sound all high and mighty” you probably are and others will catch on!
What I was really doing was throwing gas on a fire. There are enough fires in this world and the last thing anyone needs is more fuel. My list included the following hot topics:
- Lack of Moral Authority
- The Reversal of Being Innocent Until Proven Guilty
- The Desire for Power and Control
- Avoidance of Discomfort (I did spin this into a positive for last weeks post)
- Jesus Christ Being Considered Offensive
- Fear of Judgement and Retaliation
- The Degree of Division Within Our Country
- Fear of Disease vs Preventable Action
Some of these may not seem like bad topics, but the manner and tone in which I was writing was stirring the pot. All I was doing was venting and calling out what I considered to be a bunch of bull. There wasn’t anything helpful. There were not any take aways and there wasn’t anything that contributed to my WHY.
As I wrote about the division within our country, I realized I was contributing to it. My husband may or may not have helped me see this. At first I experienced the feeling of hating that he was right. Then I experienced the feeling of gratitude from him being right and saving me from publishing something I likely would have regretted later on.
That’s when I realized how easy it was to stray from our WHYs. That’s pretty scary in my opinion! Then I realized what was even scarier is how many people don’t have a WHY to begin with. Lastly, I realized what the topic would be this week!
4 Suggestions to Help Figure Out Your WHY
Here are 4 things you can do to help determine your WHY in life (or even just in one area of your life!). These were helpful to me in discovering my WHY and I hope they are for you too!
Realize You Have More Than One WHY
You don’t have to pressure yourself into having one grandiose WHY in your life. You don’t have to bang your head against the wall trying to figure out your #1 purpose in life. Most often, we have several WHYs. They can change based on what we’re applying them to. We also have more than one role in life. For example my WHY behind writing the Breadcrumb Trail is different than my WHY behind being a Christian, which is also different than my WHY behind my lifestyle habits. I also have several roles in this life, as a wife, a daughter, a consultant, a trainer, a volunteer, a neighbor, a friend, a sibling, a writer, an athlete, etc. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Start in one area of your life and work on your WHY for that space.
Think About What You Would Regret
Make a list of everything you’d regret if you found out you only had 6-12 months left to live. I know this sounds morbid, but it lit a fire under my butt years ago and greatly influenced my decision to leave my corporate America job. In one year, three women I personally knew and had worked with who were all my age, were diagnosed with different diseases and tragically passed away. Comparing apples to apples, I wasn’t much different than these women, and I realized I wasn’t exempt from getting news like theirs. I realized there would be many things I’d regret and the biggest one was how I’d spent my time. 6-12 months, think about it and what you wished you had done differently. Go down the rabbit hole of WHY you would want to have done these things differently.
Try a Self Authoring Program
I was introduced to Jordon Peterson’s self authoring program a couple of years ago and was impressed at how helpful and insightful it was. It’s a series of writing exercises that help you “plan your future, understand your past and discover your true self.” The questions were ones I had not previously been asked or ever asked myself. It was thought provoking and helpful in figuring out what made me tick. I’d also recommend Dr. Peterson’s book, “12 Rules For Life. An Antidote to Chaos”. If you don’t have time to read, check out this short video that highlights the steps.
Read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
This book is in my top 5. Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who was able to feel his life had meaning during incomprehensible and severely inhumane conditions. He was a neurologist and psychiatrist who came up with “logotherapy” which literally means “healing through meaning.” If this man can find meaning and purpose, anyone can. Have your tissues ready.
Knowing your WHY can help prevent you from feeling guilty for not finishing a workout or falling off your nutrition program.
Knowing your WHY can help prevent you from freaking out on your boss and possibly losing your job.
Knowing your WHY can prevent you from regret in all areas of your life.
My last recommendation in figuring out your WHY is to pray about it. The plans God has for each of us are far greater than anything we can imagine for ourselves.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
By being open to letting God guide your path and your purpose, you prevent losing time wandering down the dead ends that are scattered along your breadcrumb trail.
You have nothing to lose. So, why not give Him a try?