Finding your WHY

I don't know about you, but I've been hit in the face with the fact that life is short and time is the most valuable thing we have. This realization has been both a blessing and a curse. Every day I put pressure on myself to make sure I'm spending my time wisely, but this often leads to crippling anxiety and a battle between execution and overthinking which action to take first and why. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you too have had some life experiences that have caused you to really question what you want to do with your time here and it's caused you to think big about all the different paths you can follow to those ultimate goals. Digging deep to discover what we truly want out of life is an exercise in self awareness and it can be challenging, but often it's not this step that is the hardest part. It's the follow-up: figuring out which small steps to take each day to get closer to those dreams. It's saying YES to the people and things that we think in the moment will benefit us, and NO to the things that don't align. 

On my journey towards self-discovery these past few years as I transition through different phases of my life and my career, I've opened up to a lot of people about these thoughts.. and what I've found is that SO many others feel similar. And guess what else? NO ONE really has it all figured out. As humans, we go through these vicious cycles of what-ifs, comparison, temptations towards paths that our hearts don't agree with, and analysis paralysis. And if we're not careful, all of that can truly prevent us from getting closer to the lives we deserve...the ones that truly will make us the happiest and most satisfied versions of ourselves.

A couple weeks ago, I landed back in Austin with a burning desire to make the most out of these next 12 months. I made a commitment to myself to draw the line between overthinking and action for myself. I was getting tired of my own indecisiveness and the unjustified need to reassure myself of my capabilities by analyzing the successes of others. I've been digging deep for a while now to understand my WHY, or the reasons behind my motivation every day. In addition to the struggle of overthinking and inaction, I also sometimes struggle with the thought of being passionate about and wanting to accomplish TOO MUCH. It's like where do I begin? What would be in my best interest right now? Should I truly take interest in all of this or should I just focus on one area? Do I need to be an expert first? 

I started a discussion on Instagram about this, sharing some of my passions and asking others about their WHY, and the answers amazed me. I'd like to highlight them here and remind anyone who opened up to share these with me as well as anyone that may be reading this post, that the time is NOW. Lead every day with these thoughts in mind and you are more than capable of making an impact and achieving great things. But it all starts in the mind.

Here are some of the powerful examples of leading with WHY:

My passion is all things food and running, but also sharing how to manage these things into our lives in a “healthy” way. That is doesn’t have to be overbearing ...but finding balance and moderation throughout life.
— @ca_millathyme
Bringing education and awareness to hospitals about the importance of patients exercising and decreasing the amount of medications one needs to take.
— @brittany_parsons_
Helping and connecting others... the process of interaction with others and helping them bridge the gaps on their life.
— @nickzelfine
Curiosity...everything is being pushed to limits...why not be apart of something greater than yourself? Make an impact with small things that hopefully snow ball into something larger.
— @mcsweenyyy
A world full of healthcare professionals working as a team to care for people... healthcare starting with education, and not being about profit, but about the betterment of humanity. Everyone should have a compassionate, caring team of doctors!
— @drmattdelgado
To help drive businesses I care about make better decisions to help sustain their mission and impact as many people in a positive way as possible.
— @kevjbur
Never. Fucking. Settle. Period. No matter who you are. No matter what you’re doing. No matter who you’re doing it with. Do NOT settle. Speak your truth. And let your testimony be the anthem to the tribe of never settling.
— @by.stephanieleigh
To improve people’s lives by bettering their health and well-being. Part of that is showing up to work every day ensuring my patients feel heard and are cared for appropriately! Medicine is becoming less and less personal these days, which can leave people frustrated and misunderstood. I try to call my patients to let them know their lab result, or follow up on their visit with me to see how they are feeling. Do I have time for this? Not really! But I make time, and hearing the appreciation in my patients’ voices makes it all worthwhile and further fuels my “why.”
— @briek90
Betting our lives through health, wellness/well-being! Specifically, improving our mental and physical health by creating healthy & positive relationships with others to improve our quality of life! This could be through your family members, roommate, friend, or partner. It all interconnects and is insanely complex! But I love the challenge of figuring out how we can utilize our connections to impact on a larger scale!
— @jericax_fit
Improving quality of life for all—balanced nutrition and movement gives us the physical energy, stamina, and mental well-being to live our most fulfilled lives, and that’s something all humans deserve, regardless of their SES. My “why” is bridging the gap between what folks are overwhelmed with on what they “need to do to be healthy” vs what the science tells us works for sustainable, healthy changes.
— @nourishnflourish
So I can help even one person not pick food out of the trash, to be a good role model for my accomplish goals of my brother who is no longer with us... to bring myself to the healthiest possible learn to communicate with anyone so others feel cover 3 generations of Birds to come.
— @calisthenicskingofatx
To show anything is possible...starting 310 pounds on this journey and getting down 60 pounds has been a hell of an adventure and I want to keep pushing myself with challenges and goals.
— @marcopolo3.0
Because I started out my journey clueless and intimidated. I want to show others in the same position that it’s just a matter of time before you’re familiar and comfortable with the road to improvement. Sharing my knowledge, mistakes, and experience in hopes of helping others get down their path of physical/mental strength and improvement faster and more confident than I did at the beginning.
— @of_the_bold
To spread knowledge around health and how to lead a healthy life. To help people achieve their health goals. To restore hope in the healthcare industry. To let people know that they are NOT tied to a 9-5. To do a job that’s fulfilling and purposeful.
— @dr.stephchan
To help others develop healthy and sustainable habits to promote an extremely high quality of life for them both physically and mentally. To be the inspiration for others (specifically women and LGBT community) that I needed as a little girl to break through whatever obstacles both real and perceived to follow my dreams, be comfortable in my own skin, and pave my own path without feeling chained by any sort of societal expectations.
— @mollie_fit
For others, for me, for happiness, for excitement, for a long life, for showing love, for spreading joy, for memories!
There are way too many people in the world who simply aren’t given an opportunity to create a future for themselves, their children, their families due in part to circumstances but also to our society which keeps them in that cycle, and I’d like to impact those lives and give them an opportunity through entrepreneurship. .. I’d like to build a platform in order to be the role model that is currently vacant...and show young girls and boys in that Asian/Muslim demographic that you can in fact accomplish whatever anyone else in this country can.
— @mmohammed678

Re-reading them now still inspires me.

Having a clear picture of what legacy you want to leave is like a guiding light, a playbook if you will. If you don't know what yours is and can't seem to find one, I encourage you to really pay attention to what you enjoy most. What makes you feel alive? When are you happiest? Think about these things and start to connect your OWN dots.