As class started, the instructor suggested we take a few minutes to consider why we were there. Why now? Why this practice? To spend time quietly assessing our drive and what we might expect in return.

I smiled.

I’d just completed a 3-year journey exploring and reconnecting with my personal and professional “why.

In the class, I *tried* to focus on the question. I worked to connect to the awareness of myself and search for my why.

Instead, my mind wandered.

I focused on the importance of the question more than my personal answer.

The importance of understanding your “why?”

I speak, train, and consult with a lot of people disconnected from their why. Broader, how often do we do things in life without first considering the why? How often do we engage in activities and make decisions without considering *our* why?

We once asked endless questions. By asking why, we led a perpetual journey of learning, ultimately forming our own understanding and discovering our purpose.

Somewhere along the line, we stopped asking why. We stopped getting excited. We lost the connection with our why.

Our why is our purpose. It’s time to reconnect.

I’ll start: a brief look at my why

I actually started considering my why a few years ago. By reconnecting with my why, I was able to capture, distill, and explain my what.

My why is the belief that everyone has a story, each story deserves to be told, and is worth listening to. My why powers my curiosity, drives my desire to share, and explains the compelling need for me to build the systems to help people effectively communicate (their) value and lead behavior change.

Three reasons embracing your why matters

This is a year of exciting change.

After 11 years in business, it took time to step back, focus and find the “one thing” that we provide. The end result – changing behaviors by making security make sense – feels obvious to some, but it represents a sea-change in terms of how we think about and run the practice.

It’s a thrilling time.

But it’s still scary as I work to build better materials and work to communicate the value of working with me. It takes time, and some days are better than others.

As I continue on the journey to share my work, connecting and embracing my why has helped in three ways:

1. Your why allows you to recognize the good days

Connecting with your why creates an awareness of when things just work. It means celebrating the small moments as much as the big ones. In the process, the good days seem a bit sweeter.

The good days energize focus and fuel productivity. Equally important, they become the days to savor and call on during the rough days.

2. Your why carries you through the crappy days

Sometimes we have a bad day. Taking a few moments to consider your why helps. Minimally, it keeps focus on direction and puts the challenge of the day in context. More often, it connects with something deep inside, changes your mood, and allows you to keep moving forward.

3. Your why allows connects you to others

My why naturally draws me to understanding the why in others. I’m not alone. Regardless of our drive, we like to understand the story of the people. When we know and share our why, we connect with others.

And while comfortable sharing my why, I love learning about others. I always come away more grounded, connected, and content.

Have you shared your why recently? Have you asked someone about theirs?

No single path to your why

Here are some questions to help start the process of reconnecting with your why:

  • What brought you to the field you practice in today?
  • Why do you stay?
  • What activities, projects, and experiences excite you? Is there a pattern to help expose the why?
  • What challenges you in a good way? Explore the challenge for clues to the why.
  • What work remains to be done? The driving sense of the next step or the evolution often holds some insight into your why.

These questions are suggestions.

My journey took a few years. Looking back, I figured out my why early in the process. Connecting my why to my work is what took the time. I’m sure it will evolve over time.

So what is your why?

Share it in the comments. Share the questions, the process, the excitement. Get inspired by others.

Reconnect with your why.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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