Start With The Why

Why? Why? Why?

Hearing this over and over drives me crazy. I used to see it as a sign of immaturity. Not anymore.

I think we all should start with the why. The first time I heard Michael Hyatt emphasize “Starting with the why…” I paused his podcast.

It makes sense. When you understand “the why,” your motivation goes up.

Better said…when you focus on “the why”, your motivation skyrockets.

So what do you do when you find yourself stuck? How do you reengage in the task ahead?

I recommend stepping back and focusing on the why.

'When you understand 'the why,' your motivation goes up.' -- @bradbridges || #leadership Click To Tweet


Here’s how:

1) Admit You Are Stuck.

When you experience frustration or physical exhaustion, this doesn’t come easily. Actually getting stuck comes easy but we struggle to admit we feel stuck.

'If you can't admit you are stuck, you will struggle to start with the why.' -- @bradbridges || #leadership Click To Tweet

Admit that you have hit a wall. Embrace it. Lean into it. Share it with someone else. Just don’t move ahead without acknowledging it.

2) Ask Yourself Why It Matters.

If your struggle focuses on the past, exercise caution. Don’t spin your wheels too long asking why about something you can’t change. Do, however, make sure you learn from the past.

Start with the why and start by figuring out why you tend to focus on the past.

Looking at the present or the future, ask yourself why this challenge, obstacle, goal, or dream matters. Define “the why.” Make sure you know why it matters for you to accomplish this big goal.

I once had a coaching client who had literally “hit the wall” emotionally at work. He didn’t care anymore. He felt stuck and wanted to leave. I asked him what similar experiences he might have gone through at home. He instantly starting crying. I froze. I looked around. I had never seen someone cry at that level in corporate America.

He proceeded to explain to me how the pain he saw at work was the exact thing he had always struggled with at home. Immediately, he had clarity about why he found himself stuck.

He hesitated to develop other leaders at work and at home. As a strong leader, he squelched the potential of his colleagues, his kids and his spouse. He simultaneously realized he couldn’t continue ignoring why work and family frustrated him and also why both mattered to him. He discovered the reason it mattered to him to change, and why he hadn’t changed already.

3) Find Ways to Remind Yourself to Start With The Why.

Just because you discovered the why one time doesn’t guarantee you’ll continue to keep it front and center. Fix that. Be intentional. Keep the why on the forefront of your mind.

You may want to write it on a post-it note. Perhaps you could share the why with colleagues, friends or family. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Do something that helps you regularly start with the why.

Challenging Question: What is “the why” for a major decision you need to make in the near future? Take a second to identify not only the challenge/obstacle/problem/goal, but also to identify the why behind each of the potential scenarios that could play out.

Leave a comment letting me know how identifying the why helped in your decision making.

Most importantly, though, start with the why.

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