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Finding Your Why: 3 Clarity Exercises You Need To Try

How to detach your self worth from productivity
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It can be really difficult sometimes to know what you’re meant to do on this planet. Finding your why and true purpose, and figuring out how can you translate this into something you can be actually paid for, can for some take forever to figure out.

However, others just know what they want do to with their lives from a very young age, but those are rather an exception.

Additionally, it doesn’t help either that there exist all these norms and “templates of living” that create pressure and high expectations of what you’re supposed to be doing. These might push you into directions that don’t necessarily align with your most authentic self.

So, the absolute key to finding your why is to have the courage to truly uncover what truly excites and fulfills you on a deep level, without caring about what other people might think of you and without judging yourself for what comes up.

In this blog post, I will share some amazing techniques that you can try to uncover your true why.

Related Reads:

finding your why

#1. Ikigai

The Ikigai exercise is quite famous and has helped me tremendously to cultivate self-awareness and discover patterns among my interests, talents, and passions.

The word “ikigai” means “reason of being” in Japanese and entails a Venn diagram with 4 different circles.

These 4 circles represent your answers to 4 essential questions.

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be paid for?

And as you can see in the picture down below, your Ikigai is the place where those 4 circles overlap.

finding your why
Source picture: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/02/23/how-to-find-your-ikigai-and-transform-your-outlook-on-life-and-business/?sh=1a9a0c002ed4

It’s such an amazing exercise because it makes you truly think out of the box and think open-mindedly about ways you can monetize those activities that you both love and are actually good at… and most importantly, it also makes you reflect on what gaps exist in the market. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter at all, if you are amazing and super passionate about something if there isn’t an actual demand for it.

And the interesting thing about this Venn diagram is, that it also shows you what happens if one of these circles isn’t included.

  • If you both love and are good at something, but you can’t be paid for it and the world doesn’t need it, then it’s your passion. You might feel a certain delight, but you won’t receive any wealth from it.

  • If you are very good at something and you can be paid for it, but you don’t actually love it and the world doesn’t necessarily need it, then it’s just a profession. , so you will feel this satisfaction, but might experience feelings of uselessness.

  • If you are paid for it and the world needs it, but you aren’t passionate about it nor you’re good at it, then this is your vocation. You might be comfortable, but may experience feelings of emptiness (this is what lots of people experience at their jobs they aren’t passionate about).

  • If you love it and the world actually needs it, but you aren’t necessarily good at it and you can’t be paid for it, then this is your mission, and you might feel super excited doing this, but you might experience uncertainty.

And I mean, there is obviously nothing wrong with just have a passion without needing to monetize it, but finding your Ikigai is all about finding your ultimate dream job, something so ideal that you don’t actually feel that you are working.

Absolutely love this exercise, it makes it way more tangible to define what your ultimate purpose and dream job could be.

#2. Your ideal day

The next exercise that will help you with finding your why, is describing in as much detail as possible your perfect, most ideal day.

So take a moment to sit down, grab your notebook and try not to let yourself be influenced by any expectations society has over you. If your ideal day is living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by animals and working in your garden, then that’s totally perfect.

You are unique, so what YOU think is your perfect day, isn’t necessarily the same as the typical American dream. I mean it’s absolutely fine if your absolute dream is to wake up in a huge villa with an enormous swimming pool, but I want you to just take a sec and ask yourself genuinely what it is that YOU truly want.

So, in this exercise, describe it in as much detail as possible…

  • Where do you wake up on your ideal day? A tropical island, a big city, in the middle of nowhere, in a tiny house in the middle of a forest? In a chalet in the snowy mountains? Let your fantasy flow here.

  • Who are you with? Do you have a partner? Children? Pets?

  • What do you see first when you wake up? What do you smell? How do you feel?

  • What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

And then, chronologically work your way through the day, explaining everything that you do in detail, your habits, hobbies, routines, your eating and drinking habits, at what time you go to sleep, etc…

You guys, this exercise is so so important, because all of these details will cultivate so much awareness and clarity about yourself and the kind of lifestyle you truly desire.

Most people have a job that they aren’t necessarily excited about, but find it quite OK. I mean, it does allow them to pay the bills, right? But they feel they will never have the kind of lifestyle they desire because their job doesn’t allow them to and they feel stuck.

However, the problem here is that we go the wrong way about it.

The key to feeling true alignment and having this purpose in your life is FIRST reflecting about the kind of lifestyle you want, and defining your true priorities, and AFTER thinking about the kind of job or business that will allow you to have this kind of lifestyle.

I mean, if your dream is to focus on your family and spend lots of quality time with them, then having a very demanding job with 0 work-life balance will create a disconnect.

And that sounds so obvious, but so many people find themselves in this misaligned situation.

#3. Analyzing your childhood will help you with finding your why

The third exercise that will help you with finding your why, is analyzing your childhood memories.

As a kid, you are so fearless and curious and really don’t care about what other people think, right? In other words, you are really your most authentic self as a kid because you don’t really “understand” the world yet, let alone the expectations that come with it.

For me personally, as a kid, I remember being very creative. I loved drawing, However, my creativity wasn’t really empowered. So when I grew up, I had this limiting belief that being creative was basically a waste of time… So back when I was working a corporate job, I just didn’t allow myself to be creative.

I had unconsciously blocked my creative side, just because I felt I had “better things to do”.

So when I finally realized this and let my creative side flow freely, I just knew that for me a creative career was the way to go.

So I would like you to reflect on your childhood and ask yourself, what did you do as a kid? What were you curious about? What did you love playing with? Did you love music, being creative, playing with other kids? Did you love doing sports? Playing outside in the garden? And were there things you secretly liked doing as a kid, even though it wasn’t encouraged by your family? Were there any events that you experienced that you loved so much and kept thinking back to until this very day?

These reflections will tell you so much about what your true purpose in life is, and what you are naturally drawn to, without taking any expectations and pressures into account.

That rounds up 3 key techniques that will help you with finding your why.

Related Reads:

finding your why

Let’s Chat!

Which one of these clarity exercises do you want to try out?

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  1. Ronald says:

    Great tips, super valuable exercises! I personally tried on my own the Ikigai and the perfect day exercises and have been super useful! But here you explain them very well and I think I will do them again.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Martina says:

    Heaven knows how much I needed these tips. I find it really hard to be aligned with my WHY these days because I can’t find it. I am so thankful for this! I can’t wait to try these tips! xx

  3. Leena says:

    Such an insightful post and beautifully written x

  4. Jean says:

    I think I would like to try the Ikigai method. Ive heard of it before but never really dwell to apply or practice.

  5. Shelley says:

    Very helpful information. Will definitely give this a try.

  6. Cyndi says:

    I love these prompts! I am reflecting over morning coffee now.

  7. Roamy says:

    This was like written specifically for me, after 10+ hours of work daily, I do find that I only exist without clarity.
    I think I will have to exercise,go deep into my mind to find purpose, but then it will have to wait for now(an excuse I always give) but right now,my plate is full to even try anything new.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Phuong says:

    Wow I needed to read this. I’m going through life transitions now and it’s been eye opening as I’ve been reflecting on life and what makes me happy.

  9. Evie says:

    I completely agree with thinking about your ideal day when figuring out your perfect career. This is so important and something that will change as you age, so think about your ideal day as a parent with young kids, what about when your kids are grown but you can’t retire yet?

    I love reflecting on your childhood. Never thought about that being a place that was blocked. But in society this is so true.

  10. When I think about my childhood, I think about all the dreams I had and what I wanted to do when I got older. I am happy when I think about it. It reminds my why I love writing and being a blogger.

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