If your to do list is nearby, write down this word on the top of it – Why.
What a beautiful way to remind yourself that each of these actions creates your life. Knowing the reason behind what you do is the easiest way to color your life with meaning. And, that reason ties your actions to your values which is invaluable.
My former CFO life was busy and full of demands. When I worked with my coach, you’d think that I’d be talking about how to move ahead in my career. Not at all. Looking back, I see this was an opening to start exploring what I was doing in life at a much greater depth. This is when my values work began and this word why started popping up in my mind.
Getting clear on the why made things in my life easier for the first time. This was a relief because I had a knack for making things complex and hard. I easily started making requests and taking action. My decision-making became so much better.
For example, when I completed my Indian assignment, it was a non-event to resign from the firm upon my return to the United States. I was so focused on my bigger vision and knew that this finance work didn’t play a role in it. This is amazing really if you knew me back then. I was married to my job.
Just imagine what it would be like to be so clear on what’s meaningful to you that it effortlessly guided your actions.
3 Practical Benefits of Asking Why
Starting to ask this little question is like unwinding a string that leads to something more profound. You’ll notice the benefits in sequence like this.
1. You become more mindful of what you’re doing.
When you ask yourself why, you immediately notice what it is you’re doing – your actions. Most of the time, you’re fully engrossed in what you’re doing that objectivity is lost. You’re not seeing yourself as an observer would. Being able to step back gives you space to see yourself.
2. You start to explore what your values are.
You’ll find a whole lot of reasons behind your actions will pop up. Over time, these reasons will lead you to what your deeper values are. You can save yourself a lot of time, stress, and worry by doing values work now. I simplified and pushed stress out of my life by doing this. I can hardly imagine now how I managed so long without that clarity.
3. You begin aligning your actions to your values which helps you balance.
Once you know those deeper values, you naturally begin to align what you’re doing to them. This is the only way you’ll find balance in your life. And, your body is brilliant. When you don’t live these values, you easily know as you are in a state of dis-ease. This shows up in many ways – overwhelm, stress, worry, sadness, self-blame, controlling behaviors and so forth.
This simple practice of asking why will lead to much bigger things for you. Meaning will flow through what you’re doing. It’s easy if you’re mindful. And, I hope you don’t mind me saying this. Please let go of mindless doing.
To practice, I encourage you to ask yourself why you read this email. What was the purpose of spending a few minutes focusing on what I’ve written. A few minutes in your busy day is valuable.
I’d love to hear your insights in the comments so please share.
And, here’s why I wrote this. I care that you experience peace in your life. Sometimes that comes with challenging your normal thinking. I’m not sure anyone else in your life is doing this and it’s important.