Struggling to Define the "Why"

by Kenneth Rayman on September 1, 2018
My biggest struggle right now is my “why.” I want to answer it so bad because I feel it shows I lack direction if someone asks me. But, at the same time I recognize that’s a limiting belief. When I tried to dive into my “why” head on, I struggled hard with it; I’ve referenced before that my why search led to my limiting beliefs coming back on fire, but I’ve realized since then it was because of the context in which I was framing the search.

I found Simon Sinek through Tom Bilyeu and when I dove into Simon’s content, I took the Millennial label to heart, not realizing I was one until then. Though I wanted to understand my direction and “why” through learning more from Simon, his emphasis on the values of the generation, those of impact and difference making, that made them quickly bored if they couldn’t see and feel that impact, making retention and engagement confusing to employers, made me realize my own faults and clashed with the values I was brought up with and always subscribed to. The parody videos, like the Millennial job interview, showed me the generalization of the subset that made fun of rather than informed and I fought that I was like that which was shown. I don’t sit on Instagram all day; I wouldn’t tell an interviewer that I’m “good at communicating” through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and be disconnected to the person in front of me interviewing me. People I know shared the “clip that broke the internet” of his Millenial description to Tom and Millennial-shamed for the way the world is today, longing for the “good ol’ days.” I took that as indicative to who I was with Simon’s talks, and it wasn’t until someone in my industry said no one should pay attention to the labels because of it’s discriminatory nature that hurts the generational subset.

I realized I needed to distance myself from Simon and the Millennial argument because it wasn’t helping with my why. Also, lacking direction at that point to where I wanted to go, fighting the entrepreneurial tug and “label”, the meeting was a horrible waste of that person’s time because of it. A year later into defining my why, I apologized to this person because I finally had the mindset I needed for entrepreneurship and told her, “as I learned in Tallinn from an angel investor, “‘Your first idea is always shit,’ and you were the first meeting I had on this venture so I had no idea what I was doing at that point. I appreciate your continued support since but I wanted to say sorry for wasting your time that day.”

But Tom said to Ed Mylett the other day, “Happiness is all that matters; if you let me change that to ‘fulfillment’.” Suddenly, I had my re-frame for the “why.” What brings me fulfillment? Jason Goldberg has a mission statement of, “I want to leave everybody 5% happier than when I found them.” It clued me in to what I always say with my Russia talks to seniors, “If I get one person to smile because they have a new way to think about something they may fear, I’ve done a good job,” and it makes me feel gitty if I see several people smile, nod, and then ask questions because I’ve made an impact, not only as a speaker but as a global citizen where lines only exist on a map.

Fulfillment = Why

Next is, what’s my goal…