I’ve drifted away from my “Why”

When I started 48 Days I was teaching a Sunday School class on finding your purpose and calling.  My Why was that I knew then as now that over 80% of Americans say they do not have their dream job.  I wanted to inspire that 80% to find or create work that was meaningful, aligned with their purpose and able to generate the money necessary to fund their dream.

I know: why

  • People who love their work are more productive and more creative.
  • They are more in touch with their God inspired calling.
  • They are happier and have happier families.
  • They have better relationships with those closest and then with friends and community.
  • They treat their customers better.
  • They build stronger companies and are more profitable.
  • They have increased trust and look for the good in others.

In 48 Days to the Work You Love I distinguished among Calling, Career, and Job – or to be seen a different way as Simon Sinek explains the Why, the How and the What.

In a recent conversation with a friend about our work together 23 years ago I was appalled to recognize how far to the right I’ve moved on both of those scales. 

I've slowly moved to the right on the sequence of Calling, Career, and Job.  

I've gotten pulled into “doing” rather than “being” and thus have become one more place to get a better job, figure out how to make money from your creative idea or how to grow a coaching business.  Even our events have become more focused on “What” and “How.”

I’ve drifted from helping people discover their WHY –  That was my original niche and I feel like I've drifted to the sameness of lots of other voices out there.

If someone wants to be a coach, we go right to the HOW.  What you have to DO to make it work.  If someone wants to write a book – we show them what they have to DO to stand out. 

I want to return to asking WHY – You want to be a coach? – WHY?  What it is that is calling you to help people change their lives?  You want to write a book – WHY?  What is the message that you can't contain?  You want to start a side business – WHY?  You want a promotion at work – WHY?

Our Mission draws me back to the WHY – I need to revisit it and reignite that focus on “being.”

“Foster the process of imagining, dreaming and introspection, to help people find their calling and true path, and to translate that into meaningful, purposeful and profitable daily work…within 48 Days”

We call our meeting space The Sanctuary – and I’ve turned it into yet another business complex.  I know it's not just finding a way to make money and how to make it work.  I want us to be the team that helps you find your “vocation,” your “calling,” your “mission.”

I want to once again be the guide to listen for that divine voice. 

I’ve drifted – but I’m finding my way back, and loving every minute. Tweet This

My coaching has been reignited in helping people discover their WHY— the 38-yr-old dentist who knows he's living someone else's dream, the 29-yr-old pastor who just got fired and is now questioning his Why.  

What about you – are you still clear on the WHY that put you on the path you are on?

Can I help you find your WHY?  Explore with Dan

Share this Post

  • Fantastic insight Dan! Your candor is inspiring!!!

  • John Thomas

    This is exactly the type of coach I am yearning to become. A WHY coach. That’s where my heart is.

    • John – ah thanks so much. You’re on track!

  • Jevonnah Ellison

    Thank you for such brave honesty here, Dan. You continue to lead with excellence by example.

    • Thank you for that. I’m pretty much an open book.

  • Samuel Oduselu

    Dan thank you so much for your candor. I was drawn to 48 days because of its uniqueness in focusing on the intersection of calling and daily work. Thank you for returning back to your “why” and being a great example of authenticity.

  • Cliff Feightner

    As you are establishing your career
    What’s motivation to which you adhere
    Will you be one who works
    For just cash and perks
    While your passion is not even near

    • Ah Cliff – I love it those last two lines. So poignant!

  • Damon

    Dan, your why got me started years ago. It was the first time anyone had asked me those kinds of question. Up until then I had done only what people told me to do. In fact the last lesson one of my professors taught me was that he was very concerned that all during my academic career the only thing I had done was unquestioningly follow what they told me to do. I though that was what I was supposed to do. Wrong!

    Why, what, how and what if. Most teachers and people fall into one of those categories. I learned that in some business training about a decade ago. I’m a what-if person, more mad scientist by design. For me the why, how and what usually fall into place as I go along. In fact the why is almost always up a working subconsciously before I even know. It’s usually some time later that my why is brought to the front.

    The whole person needs all four of those: why, what, how and what if. However, that doesn’t mean you have to cover each one. Most people will probably have to get those various needs met in various way and other places.

    • Damon – wow what an interesting story about doing what others expected you to do. That can get you started but ultimately you do need to find your own unique voice – your WHY. Thanks for sharing this.

  • It’s so easy to fall away from our “why” and get stuck in the “what” and “how”. I often find I need to remind myself of my “why” and if I’ve drifted from it, why that has happened. Great post, thanks for sharing your heart, Dan.

  • ann brenneman

    Dan, I have followed you for many years. It is so heartening to find you have pulled back into the area that drew me to you books and your message in the first place. I found my why once I read your first books and articles and it has served me with all the rewards you mentioned above. Thank you

    • Ann – thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Rich Edison

    Thank you, Dan. It’s so good to hear someone as successful as you be willing to admit they’ve gotten off track. And you’re right. The WHY is so important. I’ve been struggling for years to get a business going, but this helped me realize the problem is I’ve been focused too much on the what and how instead of the why. Thanks for getting me back on track.

    • Rich – thanks for your input here. And yes, it’s an ongoing process for me as well. It’s so easy to go to the what as the quick solution. The Why requires more time and introspection.

  • Thomas Riche

    Thanks for the insight Dan. It saddens me to realize that although I had a great career in the AF as an officer and great J.O.B.s afterwards, made above average money, but didn’t get focused on my WHY until after I had retired for the second time. I, too, drifted away from my reason for being. I am now in my 60s, am conducting mastermind trainings and just a few coaching clients. I’m not quite where I want to be yet, but slowly getting there.

    • Thomas – I’ve watched you figuring this out as well. It’s an ongoing process of daily reminding ourselves of that Why.

  • Thank you for this, Dan! In the busyness of doing I neglect to ask “why?”. And you definitely lead by example that at any level we are at our activity should never supersede our purpose. You example is a blessing to me!

    • Cico – thanks so much for jumping in here! And thanks for your kind comments.

  • Your transparency is inspiring! Yes, it is always good to remind ourselves of our purpose. Another great question to work through to help define our purpose is “Why should someone do business with me instead of the guy down the street?” This really forced me to define my why.

  • Terri Sullivant

    So good Dan! You inspired me to be a coach by living your “why” – sounds like you’re coming “home”. I’ve been thinking of you as I’ve come “home” to the farm in Ohio to finish my first book, which is about my “why” – feels like the right place to be to be centered and focused more on being than doing. I’ll be praying for you with empathy!

    • Terri – oh I like that – “coming home.” Thanks for your prayers and I’ll be doing the same for you as you finish that book.

  • David Ballentine

    Thank you so much Dan foe those words I am struggling to continue with my part time ministry yet feel stuck in a job that I do not enjoy. I loose focus on my why and get discouraged that I will never get there yet th e part time ministry does fulfill in God’s time he will surly open the right doors as he always has

    • David – I answered your audio question on my podcast this week that will go live on Friday morning. And you’re right – knowing your Why will keep you going in those times when you feel like quitting.

  • MikeCopelin

    Great post Dan! There are so many out there with the similar message of “what and how”. If we truly care about helping others, their “why” is what really matters. Money ,success, your email list, etc. are key factors in increasing your influence, but we should always come back to our “why” to stay grounded on why we are here and what God has planned for us. Thanks Dan!!

  • PaulVandermill

    Greetings Dan,

    Thank you for the modeling which speaks very loudly to me! You are walking the walk as they say. It takes self awareness and courage to take a step back, ask ourselves hard questions, embrace the answers, especially those that create discomfort and then go about correcting our course. But, somehow, I think you have done this a lot in your life. A very meaningful share, thank you.

    As for me, no, I am not clear on my why. Perhaps too much over thinking, as usual. I have thought about posing the question, perhaps over at 48 Days Eagles, what is your why and what were the keys to you finding it?

    Thanks Dan!

    • Paul – thanks for your introspection and comments here. Sure, go ahead and pose the question in the 48 Days Eagles community – they are a ready source of wisdom and encouragement.

  • Vickie Smith

    Working on my “why”. Seems like I’m bouncing around the edges in the dark and haven’t quite grabbed hold yet. In the mean time…. it would be awesome to have a list of your recommended reading to print off so we can check off each book as we finish them 🙂 As I read good books including yours I’m feeling the “why” getting closer and more distinct.. thanks!

  • Todd Morrison

    Love the return to the basics. It does all begin with why. If the why isn’t right then the how and what doesn’t matter. Dan, you are really good at helping people sort out the how and what, but you are even better at helping people discover the why.

  • Michael Speltz

    Thank you, Dan. Your observations are very timely and cast light on the struggles I have been experiencing.

  • Marcus Ratcliff

    Love this post Dan, thanks for being so transparent and authentic! My why in helping people find work they love is because I struggled in this very area for 25+ years trying to figure it out and there didn’t seem to be anyone that could help me. i felt like I had to figure it out all by myself and that was disheartening, discouraging and overwhelming. I felt like this off an on for many years, which is one of the reasons I’m so grateful for your work! It let me know that I wasn’t alone in this pursuit and has been a welcomed a source of encouragement time and again. I want to be there for others, so they don’t feel like they have to figure it out all by themselves. I want to be the guide for them that I so wish I’d had 25+ years ago!!!

    • Marcus – ah yes, our own experience is often the very fuel for discovering our Why and the resulting application in meaningful work. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Marcy Travis

    Dan Miller, I think you have another book just waiting to burst out of you.

    • Marcy – yes I actually do have one that’s coming together. And it is definitely in my “Why” area.

      • Marcy Travis

        Can’t wait to see what you’ve got to share!

  • Ken Davis

    Very thought provoking post Dan. My new paradigm in life is forcing me to do what you are doing by choice. I commend you.

  • Ken Davis

    Dan, What a thought provoking post. In my new paradigm of life, I am being forced to do what you are doing by choice. Thanks for the nudge.

    • Ken – ah yes. It’s to easy to drift to the “what” because that’s where we make money. But our “Why” can distinguish us from everyone else out there.

  • Ken Davis

    Wow! Deja Vu!!! Either that or I’m totally losing it.

  • Grace Carter

    This is a thought provoking post. Getting back to my “Why” is in some ways is frightening, in other ways exhilirating, and in any case is a harbinger of change.

    • Grace – ah so true. The “What” is so appealing because that’s where we make money quickly. But your “Why” will distinguish you from all the others out there. Thanks for your comments.

  • Alexander Braunleder

    I have come to learn that a strong “why” is what keeps you going when things get tough.

  • This was a reflective read, Dan. When I first discovered “personal development stuff” 10 years ago, all I wanted was to tell others about it because I know what it did for me. My blog is focused on “skills” but its the core, why, as you say that is the true driver of success. If people don’t know why, skills may not matter as much.

    P.S. Bought and took your DISC assessment a few years ago and was great help self-actualizing. Since then, have sent multiple copies of 48 Days to other people. Blessings to all you do.

  • Toni DeLancey

    Enjoyed reading your post, Dan. I’m halfway through the book and it is definitely helpful for my personal situation! I recently left a J.O.B. and am going through this exercise myself. Question for you: How did you drift? Why did you drift? Was it simply you enjoyed the consistency in doing rather than being for awhile? Could that actually be healthy once you find your why?

    • Toni – I drifted because it’s the easy thing to do. It’s easier to sell a book or a course than to work with someone on Why they need it. I don’t want to forget that part of the process.

      • Toni DeLancey

        Would love for you to work with me! 😀