Finding your WHY
“At the center of your being you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want.” — Lao Tzu
Who am I and why am I here in the first place?
To begin with, it is kind of funny that one of the most influential lessons I have ever learned was during my studies at university absolving a Master of Science in Economic & Consumer Psychology. I had this one professor who inspired me every class with his talks and presentations about the importance of finding a purpose for your business/brand. During one of his lectures in his “Psychology and Leadership” class, he talked about the importance of finding your why.
It was years later that I found out that my professor was refrasing the words of leadership expert and TED talk speaker Simon Sinek in this lecture. Luckily, I stumbled across this video again at my first Yoga teacher training far a way in beautiful Bali. It was only then, that I completely understood his messege. In his famous speech, Simon Sinek talks about the one thing that differentiates successful people and organisations from less successful ones. I will spare you the details here, but I really recommend watching it! You can find the whole inspirational talk here. It is really worth watching the entire speech. In my opinion, not just businesses but also every single soul can benefit from his message.
People don’t buy WHAT you do but WHY you do it!
Simon Sinek’s core message for successful business is: The one single thing that separates successful from unsuccessful people and organisations is how they communicate with their consumers. The goal is not to make people believe WHAT you DO, but WHY you believe in what you do. You can make the best product or provide the best service, but without your purpose and reason behind your idea, you will never reach your highest potential.
I want to be a source of inspiration
I am here to inspire you (my why), not to make you admire me for WHAT I do.
For me personally, my goal is not to inspire people by WHAT I do and believe in, but to inspire people by WHY I do so. This is one reason why I don’t steal your precious time on social media (i.e. Instagram) by spamming you with daily insights into my personal life. Instead, I want to inspire you with things that really matter on this blog and in life in general.
With this intention, I want to nourish your mind with my words and your very personal plans with my actions, but I expect you to translate my speech and actions into your own life. At the end of the day, I am just a “supporter” talking from my own heart and experiences. I have no right to change anyone. But I do have the right to change what I do and WHY I do it.
And so do you.
I know that talking about change is always easier when you have gone through it yourself. Changing yourself is more difficult when you haven’t been there yourself (yet). This is why I am talking about it and sharing what has once helped me to find my purpose. To start, here are a few questions for you that you can ask yourself today or any time you decide to find your WHY, your very own personal purpose in life.
So take what you need and leave what you don’t 🙂
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself. When answering these questions think about experiences that you have made in your life so far. Try to imagine how specific events that took place made you act and feel. Here are my personal answers to the questions that you can use as an example.
1. How do you DIFFER from anybody else?
What makes you to the person you are and thereby distinguishes you from anybody else? What is your hidden talent, your special gift for the world?
I feel comfortable on my own
In my case, one thing that always discriminated me from others was that as a child I loved to spend hours and hours on my own. Instead of spending my evenings on the couch watching tv, I snuggled into my bed listening to one of my favourite audiobooks. Whereas my friends couldn’t wait for the weekend to play with others, I couldn’t wait to go outside and discover something new on my own. The smallest things could make me so happy. Finding the first crocus in spring, feeling the warm summer sun on my skin while dancing through nature, seeing the first coloured leaf of autumn or the first snow flake in winter. I couldn’t wait to just go out and explore.
I am a highly sensitive person
Moreover, I have always been very sensitive and emotional. You could hurt me very easily and I know that some other kids knew this very well. They made fun of my skinny legs and my tendency to pronounce a word slightly differently than usual. This is why I was always hiding in the shadows where I felt safe and secure. I cuddled into my own warm nest of comfort. My tendency to become highly sensitive also made me cry whenever someone else was crying – even when I didn’t like the other. When my mum was sad, I immediately felt sad myself. Whenever someone was hurt, I felt hurt. Nowadays, I use this talent to feel the feelings others are feeling to better understand what they are going through.
I see the often unseeable
Lastly, I have the talent to see the unseeable. I remember seeing fairy-tale beings when no-one else saw them. Actually, I never talked about these “creatures”, I just kept them as a secret. When other kids where mean to an outsider at school, I could always see something that made him or her special in their own way. Instead of looking at someone with a rude eye, I could only see the beauty that was spreading deep out of their heart. Most times, these kids were also very sensitive and smart, but others could only see their visible flaws. I always had a sense for the iceberg below the serfice, which is usually the largest one. I could feel the connection between me and my surroundings. Pretty early, I knew that we were all connected, that, in fact, everything is connected.
So my personal answer to this question is:
- When I focus on the details, I have the gift to be grateful and see beauty in the tiny things.
- As a highly sensitive person, I have the gift to empathise with others and support them on their personal journey.
- I have the gift to see the good instead of the bad first and I have the gift to see the unseeable.
2. What is the ONE THING that lets your heart sing?
Thirst for knowledge
Ok here is a fun fact about me: When I was a child, my family always called me “Karla Kulumna” the a somewhat overexcitable news reporter from the childrens book Benjamin the Elephant. Whenever there was gossip going around, I was the first to catch up and wanted to find out more about the story behind the story. I always loved to discover something that was undiscoverable and hidden for the others. That being the case, I was a little detective and sometimes still am 🙂
Also, I was always one of these children asking WHY, even though the answer was already answered. I used to annoy adults by asking: “Why does this or that occur?” “Why is this the case?” and “Why?”. These question-loops could go on for hours until I was finally interrupted or someone just walked away leaving me even more interested behind. I was just curious about the reason behind the reason. Even now, I still believe that there is so much more behind a spoken answer to any question. To this day, I enjoy education over entertainment. I enjoy watching interesting talks on YouTube or listen to interesting speeches on Audible over watching a show on tv or an online series.
Listen instead of speaking
Another fact about me is that I am an auditive person. I enjoy listening to an audiobook much more than reading the same words in a book. This is why a book could never really make me happy. Don’t get this wrong, I still love to read a good book and I highly prefer it over reading the same words in an ebook. But overall, I just love to listen to words more that reading them, I love listening to interesting talks and speeches. This makes my heart sing. For this reason, I was one of the only students at university that would never miss a lecture, even when it was not mandatory to attend. I just didn’t like to just read the slides by myself. To this day, I believe that there is ALWAYS something hidden between the lines. But how would we know if we didn’t listen?
So my personal answer to this question is:
- The thirst for knowledge helps me to dig deeper. It helps me to find out the reason behind the reason.
- My curiosity helps me to see the whole picture and to expand my perspective. Always thriving to gain more knowledge.
- My passion to listen instead of speaking helps me to really listen what someone is trying to express.
Ask yourself what is the one (ore more) thing that is easy for you and difficult for others?
3. What was the MOST PAINFUL EVENT in your life?
This is the toughest one.
I would advice you to take some time for this one. Close your eyes and just feel. Sometimes our brain is telling us that our life is perfect, but deep down our feelings know better. So let your busy mind rest for a while and feel your upcoming feelings.
I can remember the most painful event in my life very vividly. My personal most painful event took place in March 2017 in a little apartment in Lugano, Switzerland. I remember that day as it it was yesterday.
One day that changed my entire life
On this day, I got a call from my dad telling me that something was wrong. My alarm clocks immediatly rang and I asked what was wrong? He sad that could sense that I was not doing well and at the edge of a mental and physical breakdown. My first reaction was actually relief, because I thought something had happened to someone else.
After a breath or two, I started telling him the usual. That everything was just fine and I was doing great – when, instead, I wasn’t. He knew me too well so he just continued saying that I had two options. The first one was to get into the next plain and come home. The second one was that he would get into the next plain himself to come and visit me in Lugano. Of course, I didn’t like either of the two options. So I continued lying to him, assuring him that everything was just fine.
What happened next
When I think back today, I was secretely thankful for his gift to feel something when it was wrong. But on that day, in my little appartment, I couldn’t move, couldn’t go anywhere. So he came. It was just like he had sad. He got on the next flight to Milano and drove up to Lugano. It was only a couple of hours later that my doorbell rang and he was standing in my floor. In all honesty, it was only then that I couldn’t keep my feelings any longer and I started crying. I couldn’t stop.
I was just so exhausted. So exhausted of telling lyes about my well-being. So exhausted of being afraid to ask for help. In fact, I was so thankful for his presence. I felt such relief finally letting go, surrendering into the moment and into the arms of my dad. I will always remember that day as if it was just yesterday. Most importantly, I will always love my dad for what he did for me. (But of course not only for this!)
After that we had a long and deep conversation, but I will spare you the details for now. The result was a a one-way ticket to Bali, Indonesia two days later, leaving everything else: my job, my appartment, my family behind.
Today, I know that without this event/this crises, I would not be where I am today. I would not be the person I am today. Most probably, I would not even be here. I would most probable not even be alive.
So my personal answer to this question is:
- Without this event, I would not have found the healing power for Yoga and a whole-food, plant-based diet.
- Without this event, I would have never travelled to Bali to take my health into my own hands.
- Above all, without this event, I would not be alive today.
The most important take home message for you is:
When something bad is happening to you, don’t ask WHY is this happening to me but instead ask yourself: WHAT is this event trying to teach me?
The only way OUT is THROUGH
Start by Starting
Always remember that to actually change yourself and to go on the journey to find your WHY, you have to take the first step. As I have previously stated, the hardest part is taking the first step. Trust me, I have been there myself. So many times. But ones you start, there is no way back and it get’s easier on the way as you continue. Trust me, once you know WHY you do it, you will start to find more meaning in WHAT you do.
So this is it for now. I hope you can take something out of this for yourself. If you want to know more about finding your personal purpose, about finding your reason you are here in this world at this time and place, don’t be shy to drop me a message.
Eventually, you have to do it on your own. But I am here to guide you through. I will be at your side.
I have a WHY to live. I am a present for this world.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”Pablo Picasso