A Blythe Coach

Why Bother Distinguishing Your Why? 5 Tips for Purposeful Living, Inspiration, Meaning & Motivation

Distinguishing our life’s Purpose can provide a compass “True North” that guides all actions and decision making to accomplish/Be what you are on earth for. 

Another metaphor for your “Why” is that of taking a birds’ eye view of life in order to ask if what we are creating and doing is aligned with who we are or want to Be in the world.

In “real time” here in the Northern Hemisphere we are experiencing fall and are near the time of Halloween and many other traditional days of the dead, opportunities to reflect on beloved ancestors and others, our own harvest blessings, and prepare for the darkest days of the year. 

We are invited now, and at all times, to ask ourselves:

“What light will I bring?”

Podcast 095: Why Bother Distinguishing Your Why? is the audio version of this article

Some identify with spiritual or religious belief that lights them up, others a moral or ethical code based on their values. Whatever your personal belief system, it can prove inspirational to get clear about your Purpose in life, creating meaning for your actions and decisions, a strong identity, a potential legacy that radiates into the world. 

Myself, though I deeply appreciate the insights gleaned from my education and a variety of personality tests such as the Meyers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder, Four Tendencies, Astrology, etc. etc., what I have found most valuable in bringing my light into dark times and challenging experiences has been my Essence and Purpose, distinguished in my work with Accomplishment Coaching. 

In an article by Linda Bark, PhD, RN about finding and strengthening your purpose on MindBodyGreen, she notes: “Knowing your purpose is freeing—and finding it can be similar to decluttering your home. Like a good home cleaning session, getting clear on your purpose will leave you with the things that you truly value and that bring you great joy.”

Bark proposes seven questions to “know if you have a strong vision, mission, or North Star” and suggests working with a partner, writing, considering joy and happiness, and flexibility.

You are invited to consider your ultimate life purpose as well as your purpose for each project you undertake and action step you make.

Tips to Find & Practice Purpose

Some ways to winnow out your Why:

  1. Reflect: distinguishing purpose, why, or motivation is an opportunity to add meaning to all of your actions, consider your impact and legacy. This might seem obvious, but intellectually knowing that we have a purpose and that inquiry and reflection will reveal it is not the same thing as doing the work to dig and sift.
    You may need to remove the noise of your environment and other thoughts and distractions to get in touch with your deeper knowing, using meditation or other mindfulness techniques. Use whatever means of reflection you prefer, or shake it up with new questions and perspectives.
  1. Don’t go it alone: purpose exists on the individual level as well as in community. With the support of others we are better able to realize our purpose and potential.

The “A Quick Way to find your Why” video suggests speaking to people we know in order to clarify our purpose or “why,” and in fact, this is part of the strategy of distinguishing Life Purpose in the school of Ontological Coaching in which I was trained.

Sometimes others are better and/or faster able to reflect our qualities than we are. We could work with trusted friends or colleagues to identify Purpose/Why, or a professional counselor or coach.

  1. Put it on paper (or capture it in some way) as a draft and be reminded of it – Consider writing, speaking and recording, creating art, and other means of distinguishing your Purpose. If you love sticky notes, put them to use, or utilize your journal, a visual reminder, jewelry or art piece, digital reminder, or all of the above. Create structures that remind you of your Why on a regular basis and help you make empowered choices.
  2. Iterate and Edit: tweak the wording however you like, be open to changes in your sense of purpose and growth in your understanding with time. It can be valuable to revisit this exercise from time to time, to strengthen our connection to purpose, to evaluate current actions, and to reformulate and iterate as we see fit.
  3. Apply your why / purpose to situations big and small, actions, habits, projects, decision-making and priorities. 
Being my Purpose of Joy with a colorful tree by the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany

Reflection Questions for Inquiry

  • What light do you bring to the world?
  • What is your Purpose? 
  • In what ways are your actions aligned with your Purpose? Where are they out of alignment?
  • How will you be reminded to be present to your Purpose/Why?
  • What structures will you put in place to evaluate potential actions and decisions according to your larger Purpose?

Coaching Resources

As I discussed, coaching has helped me distinguish my Purpose and Essence and apply them in my life.

  • Accomplishment Coaching: Introduced me to my Essence, Purpose, Vision, What by When, and countless other ontological coaching power tools
  • Business Coach Barbara Iuliano of Starland Coaching: helped me connect my Why to my marketing strategy and activities
  • Amanda McKinney’s Marketing Yoga with Confidence podcast and Thrive membership recommend a 90-day planning process with weekly actions and check-ins. I appreciate how from the big-picture to the granular, she emphasizes doable actions formulated with what by when AND why.
  • For support in clarifying your Essence, Purpose, Vision, Mission, Survival Mechanism, and powerful next steps, you can also sign up for a obligation-free Discovery Call with me. 

Related Resources from Blythe

Let’s connect by email or on Instagram @ablythecoach – I would love to hear your perspective and assist in choreographing your next leap of faith! 

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @blythe
helping multi-passionate creatives
dance through their difficulties

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