“He who has a
whyto live for can bear almost any how.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Starting with the right question.
It matters what you start with. Some people start with ‘who?’, some with ‘what?’ others with ‘how?’. If you are an event planner you might even start with ‘where?’, since it’s all about location. But all of those gloss over the most important question – Why?
I get it, skipping why easy to do, especially after you’ve done something a few times and feel proficient at it. We gloss over the why, assuming that this why is the same or at least similar enough to the
What happens when you skip why?
So what happens when we gloss over this oh-so-important step? We disconnect from what we are doing. We head straight to Logic-Town and forget to make a stop by our heart to checkin with the meaning behind our actions. We lose our intentionality, and when that happens we miss out on creating the depth that we all desire in our lives.
Imagine this – you finally hire a life coach, you are super excited for your first session, you’ve come up with a list of goals to work on with them, and you feel ready to finally have somebody help you create the life you want. The meeting happens, and you tell your coach that you want to build your IRA, and be a better leader for your team at work. What happens if they forget to ask you why? What happens if they dive right into creating solutions, getting your $ numbers for your IRA, and talking about each of your employees?
Do they really understand what is important for you in this situation? Do they know how you are different than the client they talked to twenty minutes ago that also wanted to be a better leader? Do either of you understand why you both feel a little hollow as you work through the strategy for the next three months?
What difference does it make?
I hear you out there – asking “What difference does it make, if I want to grow my IRA, why I’m doing it? Isn’t it just putting money in an account?”. The answer has two levels. At a shallow level it matters why you want an IRA because you might want something more liquid than a long-term retirement account. At a slightly deeper level though – it matters what you hope to do with that money. Is it there because you don’t trust yourself not to spend it otherwise, or is it there to avoid a high tax liability? Is it there so you can pay for a known medical issue after you retire, or is it your entire nest egg?
It makes a difference in how deeply we understand any endeavor that we choose to undertake. The more deeply we understand something, the better able we are to create an outcome that doesn’t just tick off the checkboxes of success, but instead fills us with an incredible sense of joy and accomplishment. It also helps us deal with the problems that come up along the way in those endeavors because we truly understand what the meaningful outcome is, and can adjust course accordingly to get there.
How do I get to why?
It takes time and practice. You can start as big or small as you want. You can ask yourself why you hit snooze six times before you actually get out of bed or you can ask why you feel unfulfilled in your career. Then start with the answer: ‘Because I want….’ and see where it takes you. There are innumerable opportunities to get a deeper understanding of why you want what you want, and why you are where you are.
Why is it worth starting today?