Have you ever forgotten to ask yourself, “Why?” That is, “what is the purpose of doing what I am doing?” For many of us with ADD, this is often times the case. Sometimes we exert significant effort toward a goal, before asking, “Why am I doing this?”
What if you
- earned a degree in economics,
- attended law schools twice,
- went back to school to earn a Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Certificate,
- taught middle and high school,
and never asked, “Why”?
You might have spent a lot of time working hard to achieve goals that may or may not have been the “right ones.” As you may have surmised already, I did all of the above. While it was certainly a circuitous path to get to where I am today, I learned a lot along the way.
I learned that earning a degree in economics and attending law school, while impressive to some people, did not make me happy.
I learned that the security of teaching was not a strong enough reason to keep me tethered to a profession that did not work for me.
As David Allen notes in his book, Getting Things Done, there are many benefits of asking, “why or what is the purpose?”
- You are able to define success. For me, the purpose of working is to earn a comfortable living doing what I enjoy, while having the flexibility and time to enjoy other parts of my life. As I am more mindful of how I define success, I am clear about what career opportunities I want to pursue.
- You also have decision making criteria when you know your purpose. Whatever career avenues I pursue align with the criteria I noted above.
- Plus, having a purpose is motivating! Now that I am on a path that I have mindfully chosen, I am excited about what I am doing; this excitement has translated into wanting to invest the time and energy needed to be successful.
- Knowing your purpose can also help you focus better. Anything that can help us focus better is a definite plus when you have the wiring of an ADD Brain!
- Though I am sure that there are more benefits, here is the last on my list for now. Knowing your purpose can help you counter the feeling of being overwhelmed. When you don’t know your purpose, it may seem like there are too many options and no way to decide if they are suitable; this may present an overwhelming situation. When you know your purpose you can become much more creative in figuring out how to reach your goal in a way that fits your purpose. Consequently, you can both narrow and expand your options when you know why you are doing what you are doing.
What is your purpose in doing what you are doing today?