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Finding Your Why is Hard but Helpful

by Nathalie Peña

Having a career takes up a big chunk of our time so none of us want it to feel like a chore. Finding your why is one of those big questions that circle throughout our whole lives. It can carry an unnecessary amount of weight that pressures us to constantly be in search of what fires us up — whether in our current career or in the job we’re in search of. Living purposefully and in line with our passions is easier said than done, but the process can be very meaningful. 

What I have learned is that being slow, steady, and intentional can get you far when finding your why – so here’s to finding yours. 

Quiet Your Surroundings

You have to quiet the noise around you to begin to find  your why —  it involves listening to that gut of yours very closely. It can be hard to pay attention to what you truly want as day-to-day tasks can quickly become huge distractions. I took a more risk-taking approach to finding my why  after I found myself stuck in the day-to-day corporate world. I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be long-term, but I had no idea what I wanted my future to look like, so I quit. I finally had all this time to sit with my thoughts – I read articles, made lists, and did some serious reflecting. It opened up some new interests that led to new career options that I now find myself exploring. Whatever you need to do to clear your head, do it. 

Use What’s Already In Front of You

If you’re lucky, your current employers may meet you halfway and help identify how to bring your interests into your current position, so before you consider quitting, explore your options where you’re already planted. This also gives you the chance to speak out loud about what you want to get from  a job or at least brainstorm what will make your day-to-day more purposeful. Also, use what you’re already doing as guidelines for finding your why. What about where you are now do you love, hate, or wish you could change? Take these all into consideration when determining what will make you happy moving forward.

Talk With Your People

If you’re feeling stuck, branch out from just yourself! Part of my self-reflection involved asking friends to send me one word they would use to describe me. Some words were repeated and others surprised me, and overall it helped open my eyes to other skills at my disposal. Speaking with friends is a great way to get an outside take on what you’re good at, and what they share might surprise you and lead to new ideas. Speaking to friends about what you’re good at is also a great confidence booster. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Network Beyond Your Network!

Explore an industry that catches your eye and meet people who are part of it and ask them all the questions – this is the beauty of the internet today! I recently spoke with the content director of my favorite newsletter after she made space to hold chats every week with BIPOC creatives. This talk gave me more insight into the media industry and I built a relationship with a cool person outside of my typical network.


Be gentle with figuring all this out. Your purpose might change, so keep in mind that this is a constant journey that will proceed throughout different stages of your life. I’m not saying everything you do should have a larger purpose behind it. This is something I actually have to remind myself of. But it helps to remember what your values are so that you live life more intentionally.

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