Updated: Apr 7, 2022
One of my earliest memories is from a time when I was just a toddler and my parents took me to a park with tall, mature trees. My dad put me under a tree to take a picture of me, which required him to leave me under the tree and walk away from me. Seeing him leave me, I burst out crying and screaming. I remember my dad telling me that all was OK and that he was just taking a picture, but to me, all I saw was that he was walking away from me while he was smiling and waving at me to smile back. This made no sense to me. Did he not see my distress? Why was he smiling like nothing bad was happening when I was obviously scared and screaming?
I have other memories that follow the same pattern: people doing something I did not understand and me trying to figure out why they did what they did. As I was going through my graduate studies of Adlerian psychology, looking at my earliest memories and finding the themes for what matters to me was a requirement in order to better understand myself. As an Adlerian therapist, working with early recollections is a tool that I can offer my clients as a way of helping them understand their motivations and why they do what they do.
There are many other ways to find your why. If you are a spiritual person, using prayer, meditation, journaling, and reflection is a great way. A lot of people find their why by asking God the questions they need to ask while quieting their minds and listening for answers.
Simon Sinek (simonsinek.com), the master of finding your why, suggests that you can find it by asking your friends what they get out of a friendship with you. What makes you a good friend to them? Their answers will probably have similar themes and you can listen for the similarities in their answers.
Another way to find your why, according to Sinek, is to think of all the people in your life who have had a profound influence on you and ask yourself what they gave you that made a difference for you. Your why can be hidden in those answers. Your motivation might come from your hope to make a similar difference in the lives of others.
Sinek also says that your why should follow this format: My why is to______, so that______.
For example, his why is to inspire people to do what inspires them, so that together we can change the world for the better.
My personal why derived from my early memories is to help people understand themselves, so that they can make better choices and lead a better life.
Our why at IE3 is to provide customized experiences through education, connection and inspiration, so that you can bring your Aha! to life.
What are your earliest memories (not stories that people told you about)? Do you see some common themes?
What do your friends say about you? Which people have influenced you most?
Can you find your why in these answers?
Write your why statement: My Why is to________________, so that ___________________________.