Invitation from Andy Leonard.
What is Your “Why?”
I enjoy math. I noticed a pattern learning math, perhaps you experienced something similar. I found arithmetic an exercise in memory. I have a good memory (well, I had a good memory…) so memorizing a bunch of rules was no big deal.
When I learned algebra, arithmetic made more sense. In addition to the memorized rules, I saw why the rules existed. I understood the rules better as a result.
This pattern held all through my math education. I understand algebra better once I learned geometry. I understood geometry better once I learned trigonometry. I understood trigonometry better once I learned single-variable calculus.
An Axiom (for me)
I notice a similar pattern applies to my career (or careers, as the case may be). I’ve served in many roles:
- Farm laborer
- Stockyard laborer
- Truck driver
- Service technician
- Soldier (part-time in the Virginia Army National Guard)
- Electrical engineer
- Electronics technician
- Manufacturing automation integrator
- Software developer
- Data professional
The similar pattern manifests itself in this manner: I’ve enjoyed the position – and more success in the position – when I had a reason to do the work; some reason other than a paycheck. In some cases, I had multiple “why’s” beyond remuneration. For example, I join the Virginia Army National Guard to learn electronics and serve my country – to especially protect everyone’s right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. I may not agree with what people say, but I was (and still am) willing to fight and die to preserve the right of US citizens to say whatever they want.
As a result, I enjoyed serving in the National Guard (for the most part). I learned more. I learned better, I think, because I enjoyed serving.
Entrepreneurship can be challenging. I believe one needs a “why” – or perhaps several “why’s” to remain an entrepreneur. The “why” cannot simply be money. Money isn’t inconsequential, mind you, but I believe the best “why’s” are less tangible.
Passion plays a major role for me. When business isn’t going well or when business is going too well, a couple intangible “why’s” – passions for both entrepreneurship and the kind of work I am blessed to do – inspire me to keep a steady hand on the tiller.
What is Your “Why?”
That’s the question this month: Why do you do what you do?
I look forward to your replies.