When my kiddos were young, they would almost always be asked “why?” to every instruction I gave them. “Let’s go brush your teeth,” I’d say. Almost instantly, I would get “Why, Daddy?” This exercise was the same over and over about pretty much everything. It’s instinctive in us to ask why. Knowing the “why” is important for little ones and it’s even more important for us as adults.
Have you ever gone through several months of your life on autopilot? Each week, you open up your calendar and see what all is going on for the week. There are key lunch appointments, key meetings with teams or direct reports, errands to run, and of course picking the kiddos up after practice. Many of these calendar items might be on a recurring appointment basis in your life. Before you and I know it, we are running non stop and accomplishing a ton of details. However, the activity over time becomes empty, and if you are like me, you start asking yourself, “Why am I doing all of this?"
I have been going through the book, It Starts With Why by Simon Sinek. This book and the concepts behind it have made every leader on our staff team better. It is amazing how much passion and inspiration stirs in our hearts when we all are in tune with “why” we are doing what we are doing. This is true in our personal lives as well.
So let me ask you, why are you living the way you are living right now? Is it because you are inspired and living out what really matters to you? Is it because you are passionately going after the divine designed purpose in your life? I want to invite you to take a quick journey. Take time today to rediscover your WHY. Take a deep breath and remember what it was that inspired your passion early on in your life.
If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. Here is my take from the book. I hope it helps you and challenges you to determine why you are doing what you are doing on a weekly basis. There are three main thoughts for every leader to consider from the book:
#1. When your ‘Why’ is absent in your life, imbalance is produced.
Meaning, we get caught up in the WHATS and HOWS of our lives and daily routine. In return, our values are not necessarily driving us but all the todo lists that need to get accomplished. When we are living this way, we are very productive in getting things done. However, the life in us is slowly draining, dare I say, dying. Once many weeks have gone by, our hearts may be more and more empty of passion. “Why” we do something is the fuel and meaning behind our actions. If you and I are not living lives out of our values, those things that are so dear to us, we will be on a long journey of emptiness.
How about you? Are you stuck in a cycle of just going through the motions? How often do you feel you are living your life out of values? Take time today to write out 5 or 6 of those things that are so important to you. Are they reflected in your weekly calendar?
#2. There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.
This is a sobering reality. I know if you think about it, you can recall jobs or environments where you were inspired. That inspiration brought your heart to life and the hours and days flew by from pursuing something that resonated inside of you. There are also those environments where we have been manipulated and consumed.
Are you currently trying to control everyone in your life? Usually this is done through a montage of If/Then statements: If you don’t take out the trash, then you will be grounded. However, you and I are moved internally through inspiration. Instead of living an inspired life, we often live a life with trade offs and manipulations. We negotiate with others to get them to do what we want instead of inspiring them to live out of a greater sense of purpose.
When we choose to live in a sate of manipulation of others, we all lose. Energy, heart, passion, and love are all drained and lost with both parties. When there is inspiration, there is life. What about you? What is your normal mode of operation, manipulation or inspiration? How’s it working for you?
#3 Great leaders are those with the ability to never lose sight of the WHY and can keep everyone focused in the right direction.
When we are under the leadership and guidance of a person who lives out of his values, there is great alignment and life. Our “Why” pushes us through challenges. It enables us to dig deep and and stay focused on the more important things in our lives. If you have ever had a parent or boss who was great at this, you more than likely thrived in that environment.
Distractions are all around us. It takes an intentional person to stay the course to the end. Many people start things, very few people finish things. Without a clear “Why”, you and I have no real reason to finish anything.
I want to encourage you today with a challenge. Set aside 30 minutes somewhere quiet and reflect on why you do what you do. Take time to remember how you got started. Get in touch with the excitement and energy you had in the beginning. Are you living out what truly matters to you? If not, it’s not too late. Today could be the start of something new in you. Get in touch with your why and you will be inspired and so will those around you.
My dream is to help you live out your calling and thrive. I believe that your best days are before you…not behind you. We all need a little coaching, encouragement, wisdom, and help from time to time. We can’t accomplish our goals in isolation or always on our own. We need each other. Remember, you are not alone. It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.