“What is your WHY?”
I find myself asking this question often when speaking to people about reaching their goals. This is with individuals or even when I speak with audiences at keynote presentations. Sometimes people look oddly at me, confused, puzzled or even shocked that they really haven’t thought deeply about this basic question.
When I reiterate the question “WHY did you get out of bed this morning?” The eyes look up, pondering, finding a definite answer…thinking back to their morning as to why did they get out of bed?
When broken down into reasons of asking further Why’s? Why? But why? Like an inquisitive child with the never ending curiosity of wanting an answer for every reason. It gets down to the heartfelt WHY’s that keep you on track to reach your big goal!
I use why examples for goals such as weight loss, buying that hot sports car and even quitting smoking. Let’s go with the latter. Smoking. I spoke with Terry who wanted to quit smoking cigarettes and was finding it difficult, he’d been smoking for over 20 years! When I asked him why he wanted to give up smoking now, he looked puzzled as if I should know his reasons. “But WHY do you want to give up smoking, Terry?” I asked. “Because my wife and kids tell me I stink.” Terry has 3 young children.
Ok, this was just the beginning of my inquisition.
“So why does that matter to you, Terry?”
“Because I don’t want to embarrass my kids” Terry explains. This makes me more curious.
“I want to be fit and well to play with my kids. I don’t feel like I have the energy…I run out of puff.”
“I want to see my kids grow up.” The why’s kept coming and so did the responses: “I want to walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to see my grandchildren. I want my wife to be proud. I want to feel better about myself. I want to be healthy!”
I could see the spark Terry’s eyes and the excitement in his voice when he realised all of his WHY’s for quitting smoking. He had so many why’s that were deep heartfelt reasons to keep him on track.
This is where I encourage you to think about your why’s when you may feel stuck with your goal.
When the time comes where you may get off track or ask yourself “Why the hell am I doing this?”
I asked myself this question at times when I trained for my marathon goal. Yes, I struggled, training many, many, many days on my own. Days where it was sunny, hot, cold, raining and windy. Days that I endured injuries. Days where I was happy, sad, frustrated, hurting. Days of blood, sweat, tears and laughter. But what pulled this goal closer to me was that very question, why? I had many reasons which I held close to my heart that mattered to me. I wasn’t going to give up!
My why’s for the marathon challenge I completed in 2013, I will share with you another time. But this was at first what seemed to even me, a ridiculously out of reach huge goal.
I survived a stroke at 8 years of age. I attempted my first tentative running steps 34 years later in November 2012, where I was only able to run 30 steps. I made a goal to run the Melbourne Marathon in October 2013. So I had 11 months to train to complete my major challenge on marathon day. I was asked by someone that interviewed me after I completed my challenge, “Donna, did you ever feel like giving up?” No way! That wasn’t an option! Why? Because I had my WHY’s, I knew what they were, they were clear in my mind! My why’s were my tool to turn dreams into reality, to keep me on track.
You may be thinking, “But these are personal goals Donna, the quit smoking and running a marathon…what about business goals?” But when you think of your Why and keep asking Why? Why? Why? Like I did with Terry, you’ll find it is personal, even when it begins as a business goal.
The common deep heartfelt business WHY’s I hear a lot, when you get down to the Why? Why? Why? are:
- To have financial freedom.
- To own a holiday home.
- To spend more time with my family.
- To travel more.
- To be a good example to my children.
- To be happy.
- To have more leisure time.
There are many more, so when you look at these WHY’s, they are personal!
We’d love to hear from you… and you know exactly what we’re going to ask now – what is your WHY? Let us know in the comments below.
In Nov 2012 she was only able to run 30 tentative steps. In Oct 2013 she ran a marathon, creating her own challenge and fundraising campaign.
Donna is a woman who takes a challenge and believes it is achievable when broken into ‘baby steps’ and having the right mindset. When booking Donna to speak she covers various topics with enthusiasm to encourage and inspire entrepreneurs, corporates and students, and has a strong following through her writing and adventure challenges.
Find her on Instagram @run_donna_run
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