The biggest cop out ever is… answering “What do you want?” with “I don’t know,” says Daune Thompson.
It’s a cop out because even if you’re afraid to acknowledge it, deep down we all know what we want; undeniably it’s there, just waiting to be affirmed. Saying “I don’t know” is an avoidance of the truth.
Pretty heady stuff, yes; but, it’s actually a lot simpler than we make it out to be.
Chances are you haven’t lived under a rock and fully subscribe to the notion that fame and fortune aren’t the golden ticket to happiness. You also know the world is full of inequalities; that there are more than just a handful of souls living in sheer poverty/unrest enduring unimaginable suffering and pain; yet, in the midst of all of that madness and the obvious paradox, a good number of those souls are able to cultivate sustainable happiness. The state of one’s core happiness is certainly a mystery; I believe Daune has identified one of the core pillars.
Just as someone living in an adverse scenario finds happiness, what is it about those select few that have honed in on their ‘life mission’ and forty years later love it with the same zeal?
You have to know at least one – perhaps it’s your friend that after decades of dedication and service to others, still wakes up every single morning with a spring in step. Armed with a to-do list of the most mundane chores like scheduling the cable repair and dropping off the dry cleaning, they’re still uber motivated and shockingly excited by the tasks that make the lives of those around them more comfortable.
Maybe it’s your molecular biologist buddy who after decades in the field, still thinks that anything dealing with RNA and protein synthesis is the greatest thing…ever. A Nobel Peace prize or anything even close isn’t in the cards; yet, unbenounced to everyone else, there is nothing he or she loves more than hours in the lab looking through a lens.
What these two people (and quite possibly the disadvantaged person as well) have in common is that they have unearthed what matters to them and here’s the golden ticket – it’s not what they ‘do’ that fulfills them for decades on end; it’s much deeper than that – it’s all about the ‘WHY.’ The dry cleaning drop off is: I joyfully give and abundantly receive. The science within a lab is: life is inherently a mystery and of beautiful design. Life within poverty is: I am grateful for all I have and retain hope.
My own quest to find my ‘WHY’ has been like a search for the holy grail; I have changed focus almost as often as I change underwear. Today, I proudly claim reformed “cop out artist” status – a direct result of Daune’s wisdom coupled with a persistence to the nitty gritty work, which starts with finding what she calls, your ‘WAW.’ In quirky Daune awesomeness, it’s an acronym for what do you Want And Why, but pronounced “WOW.”
Drum roll please…. figuring out the ‘WHY’ of what you ‘do’ is like plugging your soul into the universal grid and tapping into the truth of your existence. When you start observing life through this lens and applying it in every aspect of your life (yes, from the DMV visit to your career and everywhere in between,) life magically falls into place. Disclaimer: it’s not a bowl full of cherries kind of fall into place, life will continue to knock you around a bit – that’s life…. but you will feel centered, grounded and heck, there’s a whole lot of merit when you’re focused on what matters.
As a reformed “cop out artist,” here’s a nugget of what I’ve learned about finding your “WAW” : WHAT YOU WANT is the easy part….. perhaps it’s to have a successful family, partnership, and/or company. However, the trickier and most imperative aspect is to analyze what is most meaningful and WHY IT IS IMPORTANT. Daune says, “the reason you get out of bed every morning must be bigger than paying the bills, feeding the kids, driving to soccer practice and running reports at work.”
Once you’ve figured out your unique “WAW,” create a statement that allows you to answer the question, “WHAT AND WHY” in 4 word or less. Choose words like, joy, love, empower, inspire, etc… In Daune’s call, she shared that her “WAW” statement is 3 words, “Raise Self Worth” and I was reminded that mine is “Empower Creative, Authentic Expression.”
So… Happy hunting. Ask the questions. Dig for the ‘why’. Ask for help. Jump on Daune’s calls – don’t make the mistake and dismiss this as modern day self help snake oil; she’s the real deal, the only one that could crack my hard case. Good luck and persevere on
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