Identify Your Why & Find Your Soul

People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”

Here is my resume. It’s not what my professional bio says, proud as I am of all that:

I am a good mother to three good children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.

So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?

These words are written by Anna Quindlen in her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life (affiliate link).

I was given this book as a birthday gift about two years ago. But I rediscovered my love for it just this week.

Given that my birthday is tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite excerpts.

As for you, I hope these excerpts brighten your day; helps change your perspective about some aspect of your life that you’re not exactly pleased about right now; or gives you the motivation to step outside your comfort zone with confidence knowing that the growth you’ll achieve as a result is exactly what you need right now.

In fact, if it feels uncomfortable then that’s probably a sign you need to just go for it. That’s something I was reminded of this week, as well.

In the last couple of months, I’ve had a series of breakthroughs. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and a bit wiser. I’m realizing it’s time to put to bed my childish ways and step into my own unique greatness and be consistently grateful for the life I have. It could always be much worse, and yet it’s not.

These are some of the conversations I’ve had with myself in the last couple of weeks. It feels like an evolution is happening on the inside, and I like it. In fact, I need such transformation. It’s validation that I’m reaping some return on the many years I’ve spent on earth so far.

As I enter into this new year of life…

I’ve vowed to discover and embrace the parts of me that aren’t so polished and put together. I’m giving myself credit for my accomplishments thus far, instead of downplaying them. And I’m promising to give myself a chance and to believe that I can do it, rather than throw in the towel way too prematurely.

Additionally, and this is an ongoing battle, I’m committed to stop over analyzing everything and to step out on faith more often.

To put it simply, I’m enjoying living life and all of its many facets.

Like Anna Quindlen so intelligently suggested in her book, I am not my profession. I am not my accomplishments. And neither are you.

To drive that point home, she writes the following:

Don’t ever forget what a friend once wrote to Senator Paul Tsongas when the senator had decided not to run for reelection because he’d been diagnosed with cancer: “No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

Don’t ever forget the words on a postcard that my father sent me last year: “If you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

Discover your why, your soul

That said, no matter what your career is, I’m a strong believer in discovering your “why.”

  • Why do you get up, get dressed and go to work everyday?
  • Why have you chosen to be a stay at home mom?
  • Why do you work as hard and as diligently as you do?
  • Why do you spend your time the way in which you do?

At the center of those answers should lie what fulfills you and what drives you. What are you trying to achieve, and are you passionate about your “why”?

My simple advice: discover the soul in everything you do.

I don’t know about you, but I know it’s time to craft a better life resume filled with the things, and people, and activities, and professional pursuits that matter most to me.

I’ve been on this journey of self-discovery for some time now, if not my entire life. But it’s only recently that I feel as if I’m taking the necessary steps to determine what the journey looks like over time because, for one, I’ve chosen to enjoy the ride no matter what happens. And by the grace of God, my destination will be one that brings the most fulfillment, peace and joy.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same. That is, make the decision to find your soul in everything you do. Discover your “why.” And craft a life resume that you can be proud of.

What would yours say?



  • Miguel Lira

    I think that understanding the reason behind your
    actions (the why) is the thing that propels you forward when you need to just
    keep on keeping on, it’s what makes you feel passionate about something and persevere
    to keep going even though everyone is telling you to quit, sometimes, even that
    little voice inside your head. However, if the why is important enough, nothing
    will matter and you will keep going until you make things happen.

    • careerpioneer

      Good insight, Miguel! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  • Kenya Goodson

    I’m glad that I found this website. I am a recent graduate looking for a job. I have been on the job hunt for eight months. It has been a very difficult journey. I am unmarried, my family is not in a position to help me financially, and it looks like I will have to move home. I have been fighting depression all this week. I am yet holding on. I asked God why I am in this situation. I feel like there are some things about myself and my purpose that has been yet discovered. Hopefully, I will learn the lesson in all of this.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Kenya! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Your story really touched me. First off, let me tell you that you’re not alone. And I don’t mean that to sound cliche. But, it’s true. Thousands of people are looking for jobs, and it’s not that there aren’t opportunities out there. I believe that either you haven’t found the right job or right company fit for you, or the right job hasn’t found you.
      Practically speaking, there may be some things you need to tweak in your job search, such as your resume or the way in which you get your foot in the door. For instance, rather than cold call, find someone internally who could refer you to a position. Perhaps a professor could serve as your advocate and mentor — they often have connections in the industry. Without knowing your specific situation, those are just some ideas.
      Thanks for being so transparent. It sounds like your faith is struggling right now. And that’s OK. I’ve been in your shoes a time or two. So hang in there. Even if you have to move back home, don’t consider that as failure. In fact, it’s a blessing considering so many recent graduates may not have that as an option. See it as an opportunity to reassess your goals and get your footing on solid ground and to be strategic about your next move. It’s also an opportunity to save money before you move into a place of your own. When I graduated from college, I ended up doing two internships before getting hired full time — and that didn’t happen until about 8 months after graduation. So it’s not unusual, especially nowadays, to end up finding a job several months and up to a year after college. So please try not to be discouraged about the timeline.
      I would suggest (if you haven’t done this already) to ask that God specifically give you clarity about which career path you should take, give you direction on where to search for jobs, and that He will make it obvious as to what you should do in moving forward. I pray that he gives you the peace and clarity that you need right now. If you need specific advice, you can always email me at
      Hang in there, Kenya!

      • Kenya Goodson

        Thank you!!!!! I will keep you posted!

        • careerpioneer

          Please do! And if you need any resources or referrals, please let me know.