In my line of work, I get asked a lot, "Where are you going?" It's an easy enough question to answer, filled with city names or airport codes. But I always remind myself - every time I'm asked that question - why I'm going. I go to speak or consult, but I also go to work and share ideas so I can help build a life with the two people I love the most.
We have to remember why we go, and not just where we're headed. Because a destination without a purpose is nothing but wandering.
And while you can wander for a season, flitting about as freely a spirit as you wish, it's no way to spend your entire existence.
I love the "Where in the Hell is Matt?" video series. Here's the new one for 2012:
Mesmerizing, charming, humorous, and whimsical, these videos can excite something within us, and dare us to buy a plane ticket to anywhere but where we are now. Watch the video and be transported to Asia, Africa, the middle of the ocean - anywhere you dream of going, Matt has probably been there (and danced there).
But why? Just to make a viral video?
Watch the whole thing. The last location is probably Matt's why.
Our why doesn't only relate to travel. It can relate to our jobs, our hobbies, our commitments, and our time. If you find yourself working late, hating your career, or confused at what this all means, asking yourself why it is you do what you do helps you remember that you're not simply wandering. You have purpose. You have priorities. You have plans.
For me, all of those come back to a people. Life on a stage and in various airports brings me a step closer to being the kind of dad and husband I long to be. Talking to business professionals or college students is a very empty task unless I'm also able to communicate with my two biggest fans each day.
I just finished Simon Sinek's book, Start With Why. A great read, the book reminds us that the best companies and movements in the world try first to answer the question of why they do what they do. Then, they determine how they'll do it and what they'll do in order to bring their core purpose into existence.
We have to do the same. We have to hold tight to our why. It's our compass, pointing us to where the work is and then pulling us back home again when the job is done. Travel without the compass of "Why?" and you'll just be going in circles, spending decades moving but with no real progress.
So let me ask you: "Why are you going? Why do you do what you do? Why are you?"
If you can't answer this question (and I'd challenge you to not mention money in your answer), stop what you're doing. If you don't have a why, then the work you're doing right now could be meaningless. Don't waste another second on it.
We all need a passion, but more importantly, we need a purpose.