Stop Looking For Your Why

My dog ran into my home office and looked up at me urgently. I knew the look…gotta go. I jumped up from my chair, with her almost getting tangled in my legs, she darted in front of me on her routine warpath to the back door. Waiting for me to catch up, her nose was already about an eighth inch from the glass slider. Every muscle in her body was flexed and positioned to leap onto the deck outside. I pulled open the door then suddenly her typical, uncontrolled vigor to ravage the backyard came to an abrupt halt like a mime hitting an invisible wall. She realized it was raining then looked up at me as if to say, “I’ve suddenly lost sight of my motivation. I hate rain. I know I need to go outside but what’s my why?”

Finding your “why” has exploded in popularity. Based on book sales and video views there must be throngs of us who are at a dead stop in front of an open door of life, scratching our heads and asking this same popular question. Yet when my dog does this it seems so pretentious and theatrical.

You May Already Know Your Why, You Just Don’t Like The Rain

Have you ever gotten up in the morning, stood in front of the open shower door and hesitate to step in wondering, “…but what’s my why?” The answer on that one is pretty clear to most people. You know your reasons for needing a shower so you take one just about every day. You’ve made it a priority without giving it much thought but if you did you might say, “I like being a clean person. I feel better after a shower, invigorated perhaps and people expect me to smell good.” You may have forgotten exactly when it happened but at some point you did have to decide that you are indeed a person who showers regularly so you just do.

All the routine things we do seem simple. It’s what’s expected and we just do them. Then we arrive at the big stuff in life and often stand there stumped as though unearthing the secret sauce might bring clarity and motivation. As it turns out you may already know your why, but just like my little dog, you don’t like the rain. You may know your why but don’t want to be responsible for tough decisions when you’re unsure of the results. You may know your why but don’t want to suffer through being uncomfortable. Most people aren’t as afraid of failure as what they think. They just don’t want to do the work involved in the non-linear journey to success.

We live in a comfort friendly world where we are told not to be too hard on ourselves. We bank on acquiring feelings of motivation before doing something. It’s okay if you don’t have a profound why. You should be hard on yourself sometimes and decide that you are indeed a person who…so then, you just do.

Finding a why is important because it can stop you from doing things that are no longer necessary or to begin doing things that are required for growth. Just don’t let the process of finding a why be something that keeps you from accomplishing what you already know needs to happen.


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