This is an extract from Lisa Messenger’s new book, Purpose.
Why Have a Why?
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
Studies show that a sense of purpose makes us more resilient, improves health, increases life satisfaction and, according to one medical study, even helps people with chronic conditions less distressed. Research from North America even found that people who said they had a sense of purpose lived longer than those who didn’t – regardless of what age they found their sense of direction. Need any more convincing?
Having a Why gives us direction. It gives us something to long for, to yearn for. An end point. A reason for being. When times get tough, if you don’t know why you do what you do, it’s really easy to give up, to throw it all away – and to believe it’s not actually worth all the struggle, heartache and pain.
Have you ever questioned why you put yourself through this?
Why you go to the same place, day after day?
Why you endure the same frustrations?
Why you return to the same problems?
Or why you feel unsure a solution even exists for you to find?
When you have a reason for being, it’s so much easier to keep going. It gives you reserves of hustle that you didn’t even know you had, which give you the fight, energy and willpower you need to move mountains and take the next step in your journey, whatever that is. Even in the darkest, hardest moments of despair (and there have been many for me) my Why resonated so deeply and held so much meaning, that I simply had no choice but to keep going.
66% of leaders think distinction and differentiation is an important part of their organisation’s purpose.
83% of employees say having meaning in their day-to-day lives is important.
Lessons I Learnt from My Own Funeral
I drove myself to my funeral. That’s not something that many people can say! But, in 2004, when I enrolled in a life-changing self-development program at one of my lowest points, that’s exactly what I did. Let me explain…
This course uses various techniques and borrows from many different belief systems and philosophies – from Eastern mysticism and deep meditation to group therapy, visualisation and more – with the goal of condensing a lifetime of analysis into just eight days. No mean feat, right?
On this particular morning, the last day of our program, we were told nothing about where we were going, what we were doing or what was happening next – the exact formula that had been rolled out during the entire eight-day program. (It was a wonderful life lesson in trust, surrender and letting go, a concept I’ll cover in more depth in the next chapter.)