My Big Why Life
How would it feel to have total clarity about your future?
The Elephant In The Room
I’m not one who typically bemoans a whole year but, this year, I give up.
While the pandemic has dealt us myriad challenges, it has also offered us a tremendous opportunity. The opportunity to slow down.
For some of us, the discomfort of the rapid deceleration has been akin to hitting a brick wall at a high speed.
SPLAT and ouch.
What I’ve come to realize in the quiet stillness of this year is that my test prep students and podcast listeners have been gently tapping my shoulder asking me to help them with something profound.
In the midst of the college admissions madness, many students lose their way.
Sometimes they lose connection with what they want and why they started on the path to college. They had direction once, but - over time - it slipped away.
Or they realize that what they want from life is shifting, but the work they’ve done so far makes them feel locked into their current trajectory. Their progress is halting, taking two steps forward, one step back as they struggle to convince themselves that a few months of sunk cost is worth a lifetime on the wrong path.
Or they’ve been checking boxes off their to do list but are losing momentum, getting angry, or feeling overwhelmed because they never stopped to think about what they really wanted on the other side of all their hard work. They’ve come so far only to find that they are struggling to fulfill the basic tasks they need to complete in order to get into college - like the personal statement - because they’re impossible to do properly without clarity about oneself.
The common connection among these students? They’re all missing their Big Why.
What is your Big Why?
Your Big Why is an all-encompassing guiding principle for your life. It’s a unique blend of your natural talents and interests and how they serve your heart’s desire.
As an example, my Big Why is to help others actualize their untapped potential.
One of my unique gifts is to see others as they truly are without judgement. I love learning how other people think and what their biggest, boldest dreams are. But, as a planner and someone who really hates wasted time and effort, I also enjoy helping people take their dreams and put them into actionable plans.
While you may think that knowing my calling so clearly would be limiting, my Big Why manifests in many different ways in my life.
My Big Why is one reason I genuinely love teaching students customizable strategies for getting higher ACT & SAT scores and then translating that into cash for college because I hate the unrealized potential of points and cash left on the table.
My Big Why makes me the person my friends come to when they need to talk through a complex problem or require a (loving) kick in the pants. My friends know I provide a judgement free zone, but that I’ll also be totally honest with them.
My Big Why is one of the reasons I love reading and learning new things because it allows me to be the best teacher, mother, and human I can possibly be. After all, I am most happy when I’ve fully tapped my own potential as well.
My Big Why is also why I’m so passionate about helping students identify their Big Why because the better you know yourself and your purpose the more positive changes you can make in our world.
We all have the potential for greatness inside of us. But if we don’t identify our strengths and explore why we’re not leveraging the greatest gifts we have to their maximum potential, we are leaving a whole lot of our human experience up to chance.
I love a lucky break as much as the next gal, but I want to empower young people to make more luck for themselves.
The clearer you are on your Big Why, the more readily opportunities for you to serve in your purpose will present themselves.
It's not about college or career.
It's about calling.
College coaching helps you get into college, often with no discussions beyond the next 4 years of your life. Career coaching narrows the scope to what you want to do 9am-5pm, 5 days a week.
Your Big Why is about your life’s work. It is the umbrella under which college and career fall.
College and career are means to an end. Your Big Why is the end which those means serve.
Once you've identified your Big Why, you'll likely discover a multitude of careers that will allow you to both work and live in your purpose.
But this workshop may not lead you to a career at all.
It may, instead, highlight philanthropy or a meaningful hobby that you want to pursue outside of your career that allows you to fulfill your Big Why. If so, the resources required for fulfilling your Big Why may guide you towards a particular career that has the potential to provide the time, funding, and flexibility for your Big Why work.
We may even discover that a college degree isn’t necessary for you to do work that you love that will allow you to live out your Big Why.
Did the host of The College Checklist Podcast just say that, by going through her course, you may realize that college is not necessary for your future success?
Yes. Yes I did. Here’s why...
College does not equal education
unless you know why you’re there.
Read that again.
College does not equal education unless you know why you’re there.
Colleges have wonderful resources within their hallowed halls, but they don’t come to you. As a student, you have to seek them out.
If you don’t know what you want from the college experience beyond “the college experience”, you’re squandering time, money, and energy that you could be directing towards executing on your life’s purpose whether that purpose is ultimately served by earning a degree or by traveling a different path altogether.
To be clear, I’m not anti-college. At all. I adore learning and firmly believe that education is vital for personal growth and a better world.
But just showing up on campus does not make you smart. It does not earn you accolades. It ensures absolutely nothing.
It simply opens one door.
You have to walk through it. And you have to be hungry. But, as any seasoned buffet diner will tell you, you have to be intentional with the time you have to slake that hunger.
(Side note: do you think we’ll ever eat a buffet again? Coronavirus, you mean thing, taking away the joys of carving stations, omelet bars, and dessert towers of deliciousness.)
With just 4 years to get your undergrad degree, you have to be intentional about the coursework you ingest, the involvements you choose, the networking opportunities you select.
If this seems overwhelming - that it’s too much work or that you’re just too young to know what you want - think about the money you’re about to commit to trying to figure it out while paying to attend a 4 year college.
We’re talking $120,000 - $300,000 in tuition alone.
That’s a house. That’s a Tesla or 3.
But, really, the most precious commodities that you’re about to commit are your time and energy.
You can’t get those back so you’ll need to be certain that you’re in the right place with clear goals from day 1.
How will practical soul searching serve you?
People living in their purpose are unstoppable. They are forces to be reckoned with.
You absolutely have the capability to live that passionately too.
At its heart, this workshop is utterly pragmatic because I’ve worked with so many students like you. I’ve sat across kitchen tables from weary students and their families exhausted by the never-ending college admissions to do list.
Sadly, when I’ve asked students in those situations why they are on this road at all, many don’t have a more compelling answer than: “It’s what I’m supposed to do next.”
Well, no wonder it’s so exhausting!
As Viktor Frankl wrote: “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
I’m here to help my students:
- unearth their Big Why, and
- discover how their Big Why dovetails with the life they want to live, and
- chart their path from where they stand now to where they want to be with eyes on both their short term and long term goals.
Identifying your Big Why moves you from plodding along through endless to do’s with a hangdog expression to happily exerting the effort necessary to allow you to serve in your higher purpose.
But identifying and living your Big Why is a practice.
You must take a step back and tackle deep work before you can propel yourself forward with passion.
How will the Big Why Life workshop work?
Over the course of eight weeks, we’ll peel back the layers on what matters most to you so we can unearth your Big Why together.
Through guided lessons and exercises, we’ll approach the central question from many different angles.
Here’s how the program is laid out...
Week 1: Outside In | How do others see you?
Week 2: Inside Out | How do you see yourself?
Week 3: The Long View | What do you want from life?
Weeks 4 & 5: My Big Why | What matters most to you?
Week 6: Time As Currency | How do you want to spend your time on earth?
Week 7: The Gap | What goals move you from where you are to where you want to be?
Week 8: Lifelong Practices | 3 powerful strategies for consistently converting your Big Why into action
Each of the eight weeks of the workshop will consist of:
- a short video lesson (15-30 minutes delivered on Sunday),
- a written exercise (30 minutes, delivered on Sunday to be completed by Wednesday)
- a live* Zoom Q&A session (30 minutes every Thursday)
*If you can’t make it live, you are welcome to submit questions to me ahead of time. A replay of the call will be made available to all students.
This is the kind of course I absolutely needed as I headed towards my high school graduation and, as a live-led experience, I will be crafting it week by week with you (yes, YOU!) in mind.
I will be in it with you every step of the way: reading through your exercises, trading emails with you, asking and answering ever more questions, and urging you to dive deeper.
I hope that you’ll choose to join me because on the other side of this work is a clarity of purpose and an energy of intent that is unmatched.
It’s exactly the kind of positive force that we need in our world right now and you are both capable and deserving of finding your calling and gaining that clarity.
In just eight weeks, your sense of self will be stronger, your direction will be clear, and you’ll be able to move with certainty towards goals that truly matter to you.
The biggest difference between a child and an adult is
Identifying your Big Why is one of the most powerful tools you have to move into the driver’s seat of your life.
Let's dive into this work together.
Frequently Asked Question
When you know your Big Why, you move through the world differently.
Your Big Why is like a vector in that it provides you with 2 critical things: your True North (in vector speak: direction) and motivation (in vector speak: magnitude).
Identifying your Big Why early sets you up for success along your chosen path. It gives you a clarity and a certainty about the direction you are heading.
And the more committed you are to pursuing your Big Why, the more the motivation to pursue it will grow. And, as you pursue it more, your commitment to it will grow as well.
It’s a fantastic way to build your momentum through life.
And, in moments when you feel lost or like you’re drowning, your Big Why is the lifeline that keeps you afloat.
Your Big Why doesn’t ensure that you won’t have hard moments in life, but is such a blessing when those days come along.
As you grow, you may tweak your focus or entirely redefine your Big Why. That’s absolutely allowed. In fact, revisiting your Big Why often and making slight course corrections as you go is highly encouraged.
Defining your Big Why and gaining momentum working in a direction that fits you in the here and now will help you build your practice of pursuing your Big Why.
The work you do to define and work in your Big Why today will build transformative habits and ways of thinking that will positively impact the progress you make tomorrow.
Even if your direction shifts dramatically in the future, you’ll already have momentum built and will be able to apply it to any new pursuit that may call you in the future.
Make no mistake: people who know their Big Why aren’t one-note kinds of folks. They’re fascinating and endlessly dynamic.
There’s a confidence that comes from knowing your purpose, and there’s a curiosity that’s sparked as you see how disparate disciplines intersect with yours.
Knowing your calling doesn’t stop you from being a multi-faceted human being. It simply means you have a framework to guide your decisions about how to allocate your two most valuable resources: time and energy.
Most days, you’ll choose to dedicate at least some of those finite resources to your Big Why. Some days you’ll take a break and play Call of Duty. Totally fine.
Fun and rest and other interests certainly aren’t off-limits. How terrible would life be without those things?
But in moments when you are feeling torn, you’ll have a better, more honest way of weighing your decisions. You’ll fully understand what’s on both sides of the scale.
And that makes all the difference.
First of all, you don't have to do anything.
I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here to help you explore your purpose and help you come up with a goals that will allow you to live fully in that purpose.
When I was noodling the idea of this course, I shared a rough outline of it with a few entrepreneurs on a group call.
Two moms on the same call had these opposite responses.
One said: “Lauren, I would pay you a lot of money to convince my daughter NOT to go to college.”
The other said: “Lauren, I would pay you a lot of money to convince my son TO go to college.”
Clearly, I explained the course well because I left the door open for each mom to interpret my goal as theirs. I did that on purpose.
Whatever anyone thinks is right for you is, ultimately, irrelevant.
It truly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Others may have opinions. They can share wisdom based on their knowledge of you and how our world works.
But, at the end of the day, this is your journey.
It’s up to you to know if you want or don’t want to go to college. And you should know which side of that coin you’re on because you can see how a degree is going to help you achieve your goals or not.
But you can’t know that if you don’t know your Big Why.
Once you get clear on your Big Why, you can figure out your next best steps.
If a college degree will help pursue your goals, I will happily say so. Together, we can come up with a game plan to ensure that you get the most out of your four years on campus and beyond.
If a college degree is not necessary for you to pursue work that is meaningful to you, I will equally happily say so. Together, we can come up with a game plan for continued learning, growth, and next steps towards accomplishing your goals.
And, no matter what I say, if going or not going to college doesn't feel right to you, you can make a different choice. I want to help you build the muscles to choose what's right for you.
Whatever path you choose, I am here to be a sounding board and a resource as you unearth your greatest desires and come up with a plan to pursue your best work boldly.
This isn’t the first course I’ve created. It’s the 9th. I’ve got my professional and personal support systems on alert that for these 8 weeks I’m going to be in it with my students every step of the way.
Since this is the first time I’m offering this particular course, though, I will be leading the first cohort through with significant support at a significantly reduced price.
I’ll be filming each Sunday’s video lesson the day before so that I can take all the conversations we’ve been having up to that point into account as I provide you with next steps. I may even add in special bonus lessons if I see our community would benefit from it.
I’ll be providing tons of email support, pop up video chat sessions, maybe even a good old fashioned phone call or two.
You remember my Big Why? I hate wasted potential and nowhere does it bother me more than in myself. I’m a recovering perfectionist, but I channel that energy and intention into my self-education.
I read a lot. I observe a lot. I ask a lot of questions.
You’ll have full access to my current knowledge and my insatiable curiosity. If I don’t have the answer you need, I will be by your side and will help you hunt it down.
I’m here for you. And at a screamin’ deal.
What would it feel like to have total clarity about your future in just a few short weeks? If you’re feeling like your future is murky, I am here to help you clear up those waters for smooth sailing.
© 2021 Lauren Gaggioli. All rights reserved