A Why Behind Your What

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” says Simon Sinek in his TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

A purpose is the most important thing you will ever have, because ultimately, it determines the course of your entire life. It seems that if someone’s purpose motivates them enough, they can do anything. People who have a strong purpose are those who know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and they have the ability to make their dreams a reality. We’ve all heard those rags-to-riches stories, like how Ray Kroc went from selling cups to founding McDonald’s, how Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being beaten by his father to becoming a world-class body builder, how Hal Elrod bounced back from severe injuries caused by a major car wreck to become a #1 best-selling author. Purpose is why some people stick to their commitments and some people don’t. It’s the soul-deep reason behind goals.

Recently, I was reminded of the importance of purpose, of knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. After reciting my speech on the Silence of God ten times (and listening to it twenty times, since I was recording my performance) within two days, I was pretty much done. My mouth was just tired of forming the same words, the same sentences. Just thinking about the speech exhausted me. So I glanced at myself in the mirror and asked, “Why am I doing this?”
In the end, I decided I was performing this speech because Christians not only needed to know but to believe that God loved them and He was with them, especially during the times when they were feeling particularly unloved and alone, during the times when God was silent.
I performed my speech four more times before taking it to tournament.
And then at tournament… I ran into a little miscommunication with the judges. I was in the bathroom, crying most of my waterproof eyeliner off, and I asked myself again, “Why am I doing this?” The last thing I wanted to do was to go back out there and talk to those judges. I considered requesting a different room, in case the judges really didn’t like me.

Then God reminded me of why I was there. Even though I was kind of hurting while I was hiding out in the bathroom stall, I had no doubt that God was with me and that he loved me. Even during the hardest trials in my life, I’ve clung to that belief. I decided that for some reason, God had me placed in that room with those judges. And God loved those judges more than I could possibly comprehend. He wanted them to know that He loved them and He was with them, even during painful trials. Maybe my speech could help with that. So I sucked in my breath, woman-ed up, and decided that I was going to pour all this emotional energy into giving the best performance I had ever given.
I have never ranked lower in a speech tournament in my entire life. In the state-level tournaments, I’ve always been among the finalists, even from my very first tournament. The lowest I’ve ever gotten was fourth. At this tournament I got 19th.
I know that speech was worth it, and honestly (though it pains me to say it), I would rather have gotten 19th than a 1st place trophy, because for some reason, God has a plan for my placing.

Don’t just know what you do. Know why you do it. Your why behind your what will not only push you through pain and obstacles, it will inspire others.

What are you doing? Why are you doing it?

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