Know. Your. Why.
I'm not prone to giving out quick fixes or guaranteed plans for success, because they either don't exist, or are no substitute for real action and intention. I have, however, come across a few direct and incredibly useful tidbits of advice which can have significant impact on our lives. One of my favourites: Know. Your. Why.
Now, I'm not talking about ponderously asking, "Why???" out loud, but rather, establishing a concrete and definitive reason for why you want to do whatever it is you want to do. Setting a 'why' for yourself creates a firm and sturdy base from which to take action from. It grounds you and your intention in a decisive and focused way, allowing you to more clearly see the path to your objective.
I struggled with my 'why' for a very long time -- years, in fact. I had a general sense of wanting to be a helpful and good person, but it never coalesced into something really firm and tangible; it was a lot of wonderful intention, only far too general and difficult to put into action. Throughout my career as an accountant, I felt periodic connections to my very general 'why' -- explaining a financial issue and alleviating confusion, or completing work for someone too flustered or unable to do it themself -- but nothing every felt quite 'right' or 'enough'. It took a massive dose of introspection -- and an amazing trip to Tony Robbins' Unleash the Power Within -- to really help define my 'why', and establish it in my mind.
Arriving at our 'why' is different for every person, and for me, it was easy and difficult at the same time. I've got a terrible habit of over-thinking things, and making them more complicated than they need to be. So, of course, that held me back. I also have a tendency to be too general -- as we already found out earlier in this post. Taking time to really think about what made me happy, but also what I wanted out of life really began leading me to my 'why'. I knew I wanted to help others, but that could mean any number of things; I had to narrow my focus in order to build a strong 'why' for myself to work from.
I've discovered that many coaches found their passion for it by overcoming adversity in their own lives, and wanting to aid others who were in a similar position. The notion of helping others in the exact same position I was in -- somewhat aimless, without any defined passion -- really resonated with me, and I crafted my 'why' based around leaving a positive impact on every client I serve, and helping them past those moments when they feel stuck. In doing so, I began my career as a coach, and first time entrepreneur. Ask any entrepreneur about building a business from scratch, and they'll tell you it's definitely no cake walk. I've experienced a number of bumps along the way -- lack of confidence, imposter syndrome, real doubt about my choices -- and continue to do so. Luckily, having a firm 'why' for yourself helps to combat this, too.
Aside from providing a solid base from which to launch yourself, a really impactful 'why' is a phenomenal touchstone to remind you of your intention in times of crisis. When I questioned my abilities or what I was doing, I would look to my 'why' to get back on track. We're constantly met with adversity on the paths we walk, and the only time we truly fail is when we stop moving forward. Your 'why' can give you a renewed sense of purpose, and remind you why you started on that path in the first place.
It does not guarantee success in your life, but having a strong 'why' will increase your likelihood exponentially. It will remind you of your intention, purpose, and need for action in times of doubt, and will be a point of celebration when you do succeed. If there was any question as to the best, on-the-spot, advice I could give someone, it would, without doubt, be: Know. Your. Why.
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