Finding Your Why: Part 3

Jann Freed Leading Comments

This post is written for everyone who wants to enjoy getting out of bed in the morning.  This series is based on the books by Simon Sinek:  Start With Why and Finding Your Why.  After having the opportunity to see Sinek in person in New York in January, I am inspired to share what I learned from the conversation I witnessed and from what I have learned from reading his books. 

Part 1 of this series explained the three steps to discover your WHY:

  • Gather your stories and share them
  • Identify themes
  • Draft and refine a WHY statement

Part 2 explained my process of drafting a WHY statement.

In Part 3, I am sharing some of the stories that help me draft my statement.  When I think about the experiences and people who have shaped who I am today, this is what emerged:

  • I enjoyed teaching for 30 years in an undergraduate college.  The students fueled me and continued to give me energy when I had lost energy for driving two hours a day.
  • While I enjoyed teaching, I was passionate about learning and still am.  Higher education was a great outlet for cultivating my curiosity and creativity.
  • My professional mentor was Elmer Burack who died in 2012, but he still guides me and gives me wisdom as I ask:  What would Elmer do?  What would he advise me to do?
  • Elmer encouraged me to become certified as a Sage-ing Leader through Sage-ing International which is did in 2012.  This is an organization I highly recommend joining and/or attending their every other year conferences.  These conferences are for anyone who wants to learn more about sage-ing and how to make the rest of life –the best of life.  This is the kind of personal development that fuels the mind and spirit.  After attending, you will see life through a new lens needed for this phase of life.  And the people you will meet are inspirational–excellent role models.
  • I started blogging in about 2008 and continue to blog weekly (as you know if you are reading my blog).  My focus is on leading, learning, sage-ing, and living. 
  • Last year I started a podcast series titled Becoming a Sage where I interview some of the top authorities and others about positive aging and how to live the rest of life to be the best of life.  These podcasts are posted the second Friday of each month and last about 20-30 minutes. 
  • When I read, I naturally gravitate toward books and articles that focus on positive aging.
  • I am continually seeking out and observing people who are living a life on purpose and with meaning. 

These experiences and people helped me form my WHY statement:

“To help people lead their best life so the rest of life can be the best of life.”

My purpose has a focus on my contribution and my impact on others.  My next step is to test this out with friends and work with a partner to fine tune this even more.  Someone who reads my blog and whom I know from teaching my graduate leadership course has reached out to me to team up about drafting and refining our WHY statements.  Sinek advocates working with a partner–someone beyond one’s family members—who can be objective and dig deeper into the stories they are hearing for the first time.

Sinek asks us to “trust the process.  It works.”

I plan to have one more post as a summary of finding your WHY.  Stay tuned.

Who are the people and experiences that have shaped you and your passion?

What is your contribution?

What is the impact you want to make?

Have you drafted your WHY statement?

Have you identified a “partner” (not a close family member) to help you with this process?