One of my clients just realized one of his biggest intentions. He has been accepted to show his work in a prestigious art festival. It is a juried show; has hundreds of applicants from across the United States; and fewer than 20% of the applicants are accepted. He sent me an email announcing his win with a cartoon doing a happy dance. Indeed! Time for celebration!
This intention has been on his list of things to be accomplished for several years, but he has never been selected, or judged by this show panel—not because he isn’t a good artist, but because this was the first year he applied for acceptance. You see, he always quit before he tried to enter. He didn’t think he could ever make it in so he just didn’t enter.
So, what are you holding back from doing? What is it that is on your to be accomplished list that has been there forever? What is it that you don’t think you are good enough to accomplish even though you would be thrilled if you did? Why?
I am not being bad with you when I ask the question Why? I would really like to know and I think that your answer to that question does beg to be examined. In fact, usually your first answer to that question is never really the answer. It takes asking that question 5 times, always going deeper with each answer, to really find out what is happening with you that is keeping you from moving forward toward that bright dream you are afraid to reach for. Usually what you find out is that what is holding you back is so small and doable that you will then forge ahead.
Try this Why exercise for yourself, with something that you really want to accomplish, and see what happens. Most likely you will discover that what is holding you back disappears. You might even discover an easy way to win just as my client did.
When we know Why we do what we do, everything falls into place. When we don’t know Why we do what we do, we have to push things into place.
Simon Sinek, Author
This quote is a perfect companion for being clear about the purpose of your business. And also upgrading your purpose if it’s expired. (You can read more about “purpose” in the blog: Has Your Business Purpose Expired? How To Know )
Many entrepreneurs go into a habitual routine of completing tasks without thinking about Why they are doing the tasks. Just because I always do them this way is not the right answer. We become addicted to habitual behavior most likely because it is familiar and comforting to us. In general, we are repulsed by change. Remember the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Good advice. However, if we have an expired purpose and rote activities that we don’t question, it may mean that “it” is not working and does need some transformational thinking.
Sinek is suggesting to us to question everything that we are struggling with in our business. And, just because what we are doing is hard doesn’t mean “hazza!” now we won’t do it. For instance, it’s not a party to file taxes, do monthly accounting and billing for our business, but the why we do it certainly is valuable. I am sure you could make a list of things you do that you could easily say aren’t tons of fun, but why you do it is worth the temporary pain of completing the task.
What Sinek is saying is look deeper where you are struggling with your business and asking why you are struggling with it. Your answer becomes the pointer to you about what you can do to change the struggle into a more fulfilling activity, or a clue for you to stop doing it all together.
Certainly, this type of questioning is not for the weak of heart. It takes courage to question Why you are doing the things that you are doing. You may not want to do it and that is fine too. Just remember, when you are as Sinek says “pushing things into place” you may just want to ask yourself Why?
I am looking forward to hearing from you about what you are trying to push into place and Why? Please comment in the space provided below.