The other day when I wrote, “Are Your Goals Really Yours?” I recommended that before you take on any goal, you ask yourself, “Why do I want to achieve this goal?” You need to be able to address that question honestly, clearly and specifically to ensure it’s something you (not your parents or your friends or society) really want and will diligently work toward.
I didn’t realize just how significant that question was or how it could be applied to broader contexts until I stumbled upon an interview with Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, on First30Days. (Note: I used to be a writer for First30days.)
In the interview, Simon discusses the importance of asking “why?” for all of our actions. Why are we in our current jobs? Why do we choose a cheese Danish to eat for breakfast instead of oatmeal with fruit?
Instead of asking “what?” all the time – as in, “What am I going to do next? What am I going to eat for dinner? What do I want to watch on TV?” – we should be asking “why?” This simple switch gives your life instant purpose and direction.
I tried this theory myself and found it to be wonderful – I felt as if I were 5 years old again. I was questioning everything I did. (Granted, I don’t think I could have carried on this experiment for more than a day; it was exhausting.)
–Why was I working on one project at work over another?
Because that one was the highest priority. I efficiently finished my work day.
–Why was I making dinner?
Because I wanted to put healthy, nutritious food in my body, and making food tends to be better for you than buying pre-made foods. Lo and behold, I ate a healthy dinner.
–Why was I watching TV?
Because I was distracting myself. I realized I’d rather be working on improving Tenacious Me. So, I turned off the television and turned on the computer. I was inspired to work on my labor of love.
Now, imagine if you took this exercise one step further and asked, “Why am I here?” (without getting into religious or evolutionary perspectives – no need to get too philosophical or existential here!) Put another way, “Why do you do what you do?”
Simon Sinek would answer that he does what he does to inspire others to do what inspires them.
So, why did you create or set the goals you did? Are you still working on them? Why or why not?
Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with others and/or leave me your thoughts. I’d love to hear why you liked it (or why not). Thanks!