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The Day You Discover Why

Mark Twain is sometimes credited with this bit of wisdom: “The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you discover why.” What I like about it is its focus on purpose. And purpose is powerful.

When I served as a nonprofit CEO, I found myself asking what was important. A lot. And it seemed like each time I asked it, I had a different (or recurring) situation to manage. Personnel issues, budget shortfalls, board members with differing priorities, regulatory changes, and turf wars were among the many things that caused me to ask what was important.

The answer for me, regardless of the situation, was my organization’s mission. But what happens when there isn’t something so clear and present as a mission statement – what then?

Perhaps it’s time for you to discover your purpose (or your big why) or create a personal mission statement.

Connecting to purpose

Your big why may not be a career, like medicine or teaching. But it could be connecting people, writing, or making people laugh. And once you connect to your purpose, you may find some answers that elude you now.

To show you how it might work for you, here’s a client story. A woman came to me for coaching because she had a dream and wanted to fulfill it. She had a career she loved for 20+ years and wanted to stay in it. But she also knew she needed to make more money to realize her dream.

Our coaching conversations often focused on time management, communications, and finances. But one day she broke down crying in my office and said, “I don’t want to be a nurse!”

She had been accepted into a training program, which seemed like good news. But she struggled with the decision, even resisting it because she felt like going into nursing would be admitting failure. But when we discussed what being a nurse could mean for her bank account, she got inspired by the idea and found even more ways to bring about her dream.

Today, she’s putting together the pieces that will become her dream and I couldn’t be more proud of her. In her case, she knew her purpose. Coaching allowed her to organize her thoughts, understand new ways of realizing her vision, and recognize what a career change could do to support her and her dream.

Your purpose is yours to fulfill

Whether you already know your purpose or you’re still on the quest to discover it, I can help you. Because once you discover your purpose and start living into it, you’re on the pathway to your best self. And that is the definition of doing what you do, better!

Editor’s note: this post was originally published on December 22, 2016 and has been updated.

Bradley K. Ward, PCC is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

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