What Is Your Why?

11/24/2015 03:51 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2016

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been asked a lot lately why I decided to go into my line of work. People are particularly interested because, many ions ago, I practiced law. They usually want to know how I could even think to go into another field and away from the "prestigious" practice of law. [I know not everyone agrees with this last sentence.:)]

Why is it important to know the why behind what we do? The why fuels our desire and ability to get up everyday and keep doing what we do. When times get rough or we begin to doubt ourselves, it is the why that keeps us focused and on-course. Some call this our North star.

Here is my why:

I was born to advocate for others.

I was born to communicate on behalf of others.

I realized early on that many dreams and desires never happen unless we are courageous enough to ask for them consistently and in a compelling way- Heather Younger

I also know that some people never have the opportunity to share their voice.

Many are just never invited to have a seat at the decision-making table.

My mission is to help organizations give their employees and customers what they want so that those same organizations get what they want in the form of loyalty, retention and growth. It's a win-win.

Why these two stakeholders?

Traditionally, organizations are more apt to make poor assumptions about what their employees and customers want. Fundamentally, both want to be listened to, cared for and feel like they have a say in what happens to them.

Even though I have not practiced law for some time, I always found the employer/employee relationship to be tenuous and completely undervalued. After reading through many cases in law school, I felt pulled to lend my voice to the topic, and chose to do this through my role as leader of teams.

When I dove, head first, into customer-facing leadership positions, I discovered quickly that many of the organizations for whom I worked never bothered to ask their customers' opinions. They did first and dealt with the consequences if their assumptions were wrong.

I saw the similarities. I wanted to help alleviate this problem in some way.

For a little more texture, my why stems from being born into an interracial and interfaith family where, I myself, often felt like an outsider...like my voice did not matter. Simply put, I turned my life as a potential victim into one where determination, courage and strong communication skills allowed me to be the voice for other "outsiders."

My strong feeling of purpose also explains my constant desire to stay positive, think big and think anything is possible when we do what we are gifted to do.

What started out to be about me overcoming my obstacles has turned into a burning passion to use my access and empathy to become the voice for customers and employees alike. By doing so, I help to elevate the voices of the oftentimes voiceless, while, at the same time, helping organizations more fully understand and deliver on the drivers for their customers' and employees' satisfaction and loyalty.

The exciting part is that I have the opportunity to inspire my clients to take action to make improvements that make providing the feedback worthwhile. This involves a great deal of vision-setting and facilitating discussions with organizational leaders that helps them find the why for their existence. This leads to a richer, more "others-centered" culture.

That's the stuff of great companies!

I have never looked back.

It's a fun and rewarding journey. One that I have been gifted to take.

So, I come full circle. There was a reason why I became a lawyer and there is reason why I have chosen to focus on customer and employee experience.

Does what I described above totally encapsulate every facet of what I do from a tactical perspective?

Of course not, but what I describe above is my why. That's what's important. It's from the heart. That is how I choose to operate.

What is your why?

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Thank you for reading this article. I hope that what I wrote resonates with you and inspires you to start to search for your why. Please do share it with others who you feel might benefit. I would love to hear about your journey to your why as well.

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If you, too, are interested in learning more about how organizations can truly begin to "listen" to and meet the needs of their employees, please join me for a FREE web clinic on December 4th, 2-2:45PM ET as I discuss with a colleague of mine about "Hiring for Keeps and Engaging for Success." We would love to have you. #hirerightengageright

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Happy Thanksgiving!!