A Four-Legged Stool: Why Are You Here?

“It isn’t about what you do; it’s about why you were created!”

Do you wonder why you are here and what you should do with your life?

Everyone eventually searches for real meaning in their lives. Without meaning, we are left simply drifting along like a ship on a windy ocean with no rudder. In our work we have never personally met anyone who was born knowing the reason why they are here. It’s a question we all ask and yet the answers are as varied and as unique to you as your DNA.

We search because the reason for our existence is not easily found and requires quite a bit of introspection. The good news is your answer is out there for you to find … if you know where to look.

In our last post (click here if you missed it) we introduced the first question (leg) in our four-legged stool concept: “Who are you?” Today we ask the second question. Remember, these questions aren’t special – it’s your answers that are! Like before, today’s question requires contemplation and honest self-evaluation. Take the necessary time to thoughtfully consider your answer.

The Second Leg: Why Are You Here?

Your stool’s second leg is constructed by figuring out the answer to the question “Why are you here?” Some refer to this as their calling, mission, or purpose. The specific label isn’t necessarily important, but resolving the question is.

Too often, we default on this answer and go for something obvious, convenient, or generic. If your answer is your job, you have more digging to do. Our professional roles do not define who we are in this world. It isn’t about what you do; it’s about why you were created!

There is a defining scene from the movie City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance that captures how personal and frustrating seeking an answer to this question can be. In the film, Mitch Robbins (Crystal) struggles to discover the secret to life. Curly (Palance) asks Mitch, “Do you know what the secret to life is?” Mitch says, “No, what?” to which Curly responds by holding up one finger and saying, “This.” Mitch is clearly confused. Curly looks at his finger and says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean s***.” Mitch presses Curly for what this mysterious “one thing” is. Curly then says, his eyes sparkling, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

We might often feel like Mitch—we just need someone else to tell us what our “one thing” is. The problem is that it’s different for each of us. We can’t tell you what your one thing is. No one can … no one but you that is. While seeking input from others can be helpful, only you can make this decision for you.

So how do you do it? For some it seems obvious; for others, it requires the hard work of sorting through options until you uncover your one thing. It can be the work of a lifetime.

Perhaps the things you are most passionate about are a clue. What do you care most about? Bill Hybels, in his book Holy Discontent, describes our passions as those things that make us really angry, that we truly love, or that make us want to do something now. He calls these our areas of “holy discontent.”

Another great way to think about this is to consider those things in life that are most important to you. We call those your “non-negotiables”. What is irreplaceable to you? What things would you never consider changing? Basically, when your life is added up some day, what things do you most want to be remembered for?

Are you struggling? Seek help from your family, friends, and others you trust. And a good life coach will have the tools and resources available to help guide you through this question until you get to an answer.

For us, discovering the “why” leg of our four-legged stools took time spent in exploration and discovery. It was not quick or easy. It was, however, absolutely worth pursuing until we had our answers. We encourage you to go the distance and stay engaged until you discover why you are here.

Discovering your one big thing, or your calling, always starts with you—how you are uniquely shaped and how best to interact with the world and people around you.

Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the third leg of this four-legged stool.


Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher




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