Most of us get caught up in what we do. We see this reflected in and fed by one of the first questions we ask of someone we’re getting to know: “What do you do?” Next time you meet someone, I dare you to replace this question with another: “Why do you do what you do?” They may look at you funny or walk away, but if not then you’ll probably have a much more interesting conversation than you otherwise would.

Inspiring leaders (as well as great marketers) know that people don’t deeply connect with your what. They buy your why. Close friends don’t connect over what; they become one in why.

Why? Because our why’s are deeper and more intriguing than our what’s. Our what might be great or goofy, but it’s probably not unique. Whatever you do, someone else does the same thing. Knowing your what might conceal as much about you as it reveals. But your why is different. Your why is what makes you you.

So do you know your why?

I believe God has acted decisively in Jesus of Nazareth to set humanity free and redeem all creation, I believe he continues this saving mission through the church, and I believe the church must take on a particular form to be faithful to its calling. This is my why. I do everything I do because of the shape I believe God’s mission has taken through Christ and the church.

I know my why. Do you?

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NOTE: In light of my 30th birthday and in honor of the guys who have all the fun, I’ll be offering thirty reflections in thirty days starting December 19th. Today’s post is #6 (see the so-far list here). The only rule is that I have 250 words to make my point. After that just stop reading. Thanks for making my blog part of your internet experience.