WHY WE DO THE THINGS WE DO
This is a great question and I think it is much more important than we think. Sure, it’s a nice thing and we might even think that we know why we do things -Why we work the job that we work, why we are married to (or dating) that special person, or why we take the vacations that we do. We do have reasons and we do have drivers for everything that we do in life.
“Two of the most important days in your life are – the day you are born, and the day you find out WHY.” – Mark Twain
If I look at why I work at the job that I do, I could say that it’s close to home, it’s interesting and it pays good money. These are all good reasons, but they are not the reasons that I do other things. I have a myriad of individual reasons that I do the things I do. They are not always motivational and they differ from one thing to another.
There is an overarching reason or WHY for everything. Everything since I’ve been a kid. About now you might be thinking that I am talking about purpose – the reason I or we are here. Not exactly, though purpose and WHY can interact. I’m not talking about our purpose in life. I’m talking about why we do the thing we do.
Confused yet? Tony Robbins says that when you are confused, you are on the brink or a breakthrough. Let’s see if we can facilitate a breakthrough.
The WHY is your motivation and drive that also has a bit to do with your personality. Your purpose is what you want to do with your life. Your purpose is something that you can choose. Your WHY is ‘built-in”. In a video, with comedian, Michael Jr,. he was talking to someone in the audience, who he just learned was a music teacher. He asked him the sing a few bars of Amazing Grace. The music teacher did this very well. Then he asked the music teacher to sing it for a specific scenario – a specific personal reason. The music teacher then sang the same song with such passion and incredible talent. It’s amazing when you know your WHY, how much better you can perform. Video Clip
The WHY that I am talking about is what Simon Sinek started us all thinking about a few years ago with his famous TED Talk. He not only talked about the WHY, but The Golden Circle – including the How, and What. He, unfortunately, could not tell us precisely how to find this WHY. The WHY institute, founded by Gary Sanchez, has discovered this. I won’t get into the details, but I will tell you that it works.
These WHYs have been categorized into 9 different types. I won’t go into all of them, but I’ll share mine and maybe a few others, just to show you what they are and how they work in your life.
I found out that my WHY is Challenge – I challenge the status quo and stereotypical thinking. I am one who likes to think ‘outside of the box’ and even more so, draw ‘outside of the lines’. I seem different, sometimes look different, and even, (or especially) act differently from most others. And I like being different.
When I learned my WHY, it fit perfectly. When I was young, I never fit in the “in” crowd. I would have probably been categorized as a geeky kid. I didn’t, however, fit in with the stereotypical geek crowd either. That didn’t mean that I was a loner because I did have friends. My best friend was in the ‘in crowd’ but in another school. My other friends were not all geeks, but they had their idiosyncrasies and likings that set them apart from others. In other words, most of my friends challenged the status quo in one way or another.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking back.” – Steve Jobs
I did not do things because they were cool by everyone else’s standards. I did things that I thought were cool, by my standards.
In high school, I disproved a theorem in geometry class. I did not do this because I was highly intelligent, I did this because I thought and approached things differently. There were various things I said and did that kept me out of the ‘cool kids’ circle.
Even in college, an MBA program was boring for me – too much structure and process. I ended up in an accelerated computer program It was unique, self-paced (to a degree), and allowed for some autonomy within the classes. It was radically different from university. I thrived.
I the workplace, I did not thrive if there were a lot of micromanagement, rules, and processes. When in positions of autonomy or something that allowed for out-of-the-box thinking, again, I thrived.
So, the WHY of Challenge fit me like a glove. When I had the chance to challenge, do things differently, and think outside the box, I flourished… OK, I had plenty of proof that my WHY was Challenge throughout my life, but what does knowing that do for me now? I now know consciously that I prefer and enjoy thinking differently, and I will look more for those opportunities. I run my own business (with my business partner Lisa, who is also Challenge). No surprise. I did not want the typical 9-5 job. I have full ability to think outside the box when needed, and to do things differently (some call it creativity). I will choose clients and projects that allow for that. I let people know that I approach their issues and needs from a different perspective and not grounded on processes and a lot of structure. This turns some people off, especially those whose WHY is Right Way. They must have specific process and structure, and that’s ok for them, but not for me.
“When you talk about WHAT you do, you blend in with everyone who does what you do. When you talk about (and know) your WHY, WHAT you do has more impact.”
Do you see how your WHY is not only your drive but also your personality? I not only use my WHY for decision making (For me, this can be a grueling process, thinking about what I should order at a restaurant. I am always looking for something different in one way, shaper, or form.), but also in my messaging and in the way I talk. When I meet someone, instead of telling them what I do, I am now telling them WHY I do what I do. “I believe that bringing a different and unique perspective to my clients helps bring solutions to their problems and needs, and can help them stand out to their clients.” My WHY comes right though in a very sincere way.
My HOW is Better Way. Better Way can be the WHY for some but it comes in as the HOW for me. Meaning, how I do the things I do is driven by my need and desire to find a better way. How I serve my clients is finding a better way for them to do things or finding a better way or finding a better way to help them solve their problems. So, I not only have outside-of-the-box thinking and look for unique and different approaches, I check to see if it is better than what exists today. People who have Better Way as their WHY get juiced by looking for and finding better ways to do almost anything.
Another WHY, which is part of my WHY.os (or Golden Circle) is Contribute. This is the most common WHY, which my business partner, Lisa says, it is an indication that there is hope for the world. Someone who’s WHY is Contribute is motivated by the want and desire to help out. They want to be part of a cause. They love to help others. They are the go to people, because they are always ready to lend a helping hand. Like any of the WHYs, there are great benefits to your WHY but there are also challenges. The challenge for people whose WHY is Contribute is that the often say “yes” to often. They have a hard time saying “no”. This causes them to be ineffective contributors if the have over-committed. Since your WHY is your driving force, it’s hard to say no if someone really needs you.
The challenge of being a Challenge, like I am, is that you sometimes come off as weird if you strive to be different. As mentioned before, you cannot and will not be happy in highly structured roles. You may also, sometimes miss opportunities because you are looking for something different.
As a Better Way, you can spend much time and effort to build a Rolls Royce when only a Volkswagen is needed. Better Ways don’t often no when to stop improvement.
Anything that motivates or drives us, can lead to excessiveness. The point of knowing your WHY is to take advantage of that motivation and drive, and it is also to become aware of the issues that you could run into. Many people call the WHY a superpower, and in any ways it is. As with superpowers, there are cautions that you need to be aware of.
Our WHY can be considered our superpower or genius. It is definitely a strength to be utilized. Knowing your WHY could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Einstein
So, if this concept of WHY has piqued your interest, reach out and we can talk more about it.
If you want more information on Mindset Coaching, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org