what you find when you look around (photo by Laura Yale)

How to fulfill your potential and disrupt – Part3 – The ‘WHY’

So now I’ve shared the WHAT and WHERE secrets of discovering your calling in life. But there’s one final part to the secret. And thanks to Simon Sinek, it’s everyone’s current favorite…

The WHY.

The material impact resulting from WHAT you do, and WHERE you do it. In summary, your life mission comprises:

‪WHAT ‬ | ‪Use‬ ‪the talents & gifts you’re endowed with… ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪WHERE ‬ | ‪In‬ ‪a place your values & interests lead you…

WHY ‬ | For the people and purposes you care about deeply.

For example, “Creating experiences/products and telling inspirational/mysterious stories, in communities of like-minded people and through unique experiences and travel, for the sake of helping people learn and grow and become more productive and deepen relationships.”


“Establishing processes and routines and environments with creativity and design, in the arenas of family and friends and redeeming endeavors, for the purpose of bringing simplicity and order and joy into people’s lives.”


“Coaching leaders and inventing/investing in ideas, in environments of variety and freedom and growth and collaboration, in order to help leaders and organizations gain clarity to live their purpose and passions and reach their full potential.”

Notice how the combinations of words helps bring clarity to the specific nature of the concepts. And also notice how (contrary to some initial reactions to “Life Purpose”) these callings are not selfish. Indeed, someone could possibly focus too much on self in these endeavors – however ‘purpose’, by definition, is an others-centered endeavor, and one cannot fulfill it unless they have done the self-focused work of drawing it out.

Now be real with me for a minute. This time of year is cluttered with goal-setting this&that. But even if we crush the “accomplish your goals” part, we might not feel confidence and clarity that these were the right goals. The ones we really care about most.

That’s because we’re all meant for purpose. For ownership. For creativity. For service. For management. For improvement. And we all care deeply about living into that purpose. (both the general and the uniquely specific purposes)

This is why we hear a humorous amount from millennials (and a growing number of GenX’ers/Boomers) about ‘making the world a better place’. It’s not a trend. It’s because the industrial & efficiency ages stripped so much purpose out of work, that the next generations look forward and hunger for more than just paying the bills and surviving another day.

Work used to be part of life – not so mentally divorced. It was part of your role in the community. Then the factory removed learning & creativity, so work became only a means to a paycheck. In fact, Adam Smith (one of the fathers of the industrial revolution) believed humans are lazy and won’t do anything unless incentivized. So now we’re trying to renovate a corporate system that is largely still built for that belief.

The good news is, this places us, living smack in the middle of one of the most exciting human revolutions. People don’t want to be partial-people. They want to be their whole selves, in work, in play, in relationships… all of life interwoven. And internet/technology have recently brought us back to a place where people can earn living wages from the things they’re wired to do.

This is why people are saying “work-life integration”.

This is why the gig economy is happening.

This is why the 2016 average employee tenure in San Francisco was 24 months (yes, I said months). And why a company like Double Forte, that invests in employees’ passions, averaged more than double – 49mo.

And this is why more and more people are saying yes to designing work that serves their lives, instead of lives that serve their work.

Now, it’s completely fair that many people have stuffed this down, come to believe life/work is mundane, or simply become caught up in the busyness and distraction of daily life. Or in some cases, potential is misunderstood only as becoming the next Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King Jr. When in reality, hobbies, taking care of family members, fitness, learning – can be elements of purpose just as much as what we do to make money.

Additionally, it’s not always possible to do what you love. I’ve experienced struggles and trials, and am surely not dismissing the overwhelming nature of such experiences. In fact, I would argue these seasons require and draw out one’s purpose in the most meaningful and poignant ways. (I’ll save my personal story for another post..)

The difference is this: INTENTIONALITY.

No, really! Don’t just read over that. It’s simple, but significant. The vast majority live in a reactive manner. Reacting to emails and requests. Reacting to urgent matters that pop up. Reacting to opportunities and circumstances.

Those who make the most impact, seem to be pro-active. That is, intentional. They start with a bigger picture, and the to-do lists of life work in service to that bigger picture. As a result, they often experience more success, fulfillment, joy, and happiness. Additionally, they have more clarity and confidence, because they have a mechanism to filter career decisions, prioritization choices, and general daily/weekly/monthly life. Things become easier and more fun, in a world of ever-increasing death-by-options. They know when to say YES, and when to say NO.

They spend more time living in their strengths – their sweetspot – and it pays off.

That is the value of this life mission idea. The powerful combo of who you are BEING, and what you are DOING.

So. This article series is dedicated to helping you find that sweetspot… and move-in. And if this has resonated in you or caused you to think, then please explore a little further. You don’t have to figure it all out today. It’s a journey of learning and trying. Just take a baby-step. And to identify your WHY, think about…


What breaks your heart? What makes you pound your fists? What topics do you find yourself reading about & watching shows about most often?

And here’s game-changer:

  1. Brainstorm experiences in your life that have stuck with you the most.
  2. For positive ones, jot down what about it was so great.
  3. For negative, jot down why it was so disturbing.
  4. Now pick 5 – don’t over-think it, just pick 5 that evoke strong emotion.
  5. What was the end goal (or lack thereof) in these situations? Do you see any themes?


If you’re like most people, these questions are difficult to think through. Or maybe you just start feeling frustrated and insecure. No worries – this stuff takes time. And usually outside perspective helps.

This was (and continues to be) my experience, so I love to help people gain clarity of their own. Thus, if you’d like to learn more about a fun self-driven experience to discover more about your purpose and passions, sign up at the bottom of this page for updates. We are iteratively developing this tool at Greenhouse Culture, which means you can be part of the first group of beneficiaries gaining clarity in their lives.

Cheers to a transformative year!

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