Sunday, 27 May 2012

What Is Your Why?

We have all asked it under our breath, usually paired with a slow shake of the head and an exasperated sigh, "Why did I do that?"  You may have even had one of those; drop to your knees in the rain, look towards the stormy sky as the rain falls relentlessly onto your face and scream "WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?" while the camera pans out; moments.

In an earlier blog, we looked at your "Who" and your "What"  Now it is time to look at your "Why".

All to often, we reserve the question of why for when we regret a decision or something negative happens to us. In those situations it is good to ask why, not to throw a pity party but to actually explore why you took an action or why something happened to you. What I would like to suggest to you today, though, is to ask why all the time. The use of this question can lead you down paths of discovery you can't even imagine.

Think about the typical 4 year old. The word "why" is probably one of the most used in their vocabulary. I have had these kinds of conversations with both of my kids and several others.

"Daddy" (That part is usually only from my kids, not other peoples) "Why do we have to go to the grocery store every week?"
"Because we have to buy food."
"Well, we need to eat."
"Because our bodies need food so that we can walk and talk and think and do things?"
"...... you know, I don't really know exactly."
"Because I didn't go to University and study that kind of thing."
"Because I wanted to be a rock star ok?! Back off, you sound like my dad!"
"......... Why?"

"Why" is the one-word key to discovery. When you turn it on yourself, you can discover things that can change your life. The trick is to not just use it when things go your way. Ask it of yourself in every situation and really explore your answer.

Why did you nail that presentation?
Why did you get the job?
Why did you choose to procrastinate?
Why did you not make that sales call?
Why did you pour so much energy into your last project?

Behind every action you take, be it positive or negative, there is a motivation ... a why. Be a 4 year old and explore those motivations. Have a conversation like this with yourself;

"Why did I nail that presentation?"
"Because I felt completely confident going into it."
"Because I was fully prepared."
"Because I knew my subject and my audience inside-out and backwards."
"Because I took the time to research it all very well."
"Because I knew that this presentation was key to the success of my business."
"Because I knew that landing a contract with these people would open many doors."

We could continue but you get the point. Just from asking why in this sequence we discovered that a great presentation comes from confidence, which comes from preparation, which comes from a desire to succeed.

Everyone's "why" is different and certain situations will have different "whys" for you. Take the time to explore why you make choices the way you do. Channel your inner 4 year old and drill through the "whys" until you can't drill any more. Then look back at all of the answers. You will find heaps of information that will help you to understand why you do what you do and what you might want to adjust.

Because it works.

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