When I was really young, my family would tease me about my constant questioning about why. Whether it was why are there clouds or why do I have to read this book or why are some people so mean, it never stopped. As I got older, I began to develop a starting point for every effort I made, task I took on or project I approached of “why am I doing this”. It became second nature by the time I was in college and from then on. Why are we in this business? Why am I spending time with these people? Why are we having difficulties here? Why are we introducing these new products? Why is product selling well here and not there?
It became liberating and motivating to always know the why prior to taking on the effort of the how, because I found that if the why was not compelling, the how does not matter and can be abandoned.
With Independence Day one could look at the “why” of Independence in 1776. The Revolutionary War was an unfortunate how of that deeply seated why; the desire of a large portion of people at the time to write their own course for their future. Without the why, that particular how would have been very difficult to support.
I find Independence Day the perfect time to step back from my Hows and really understand the why for as much of what I do as possible. If you want to improve your outcomes, which most of us do, you need to understand why first, and then how. Without the why, the extra effort required to create momentum to reach a new destination is likely to fall back to the default answer of “why bother”.
I encourage all around me to first seek that spot in themselves that will motivate them to continually explore what is just beyond possible for them, and always, it starts with why. With a great why, anything is possible. Without it, it’s all just work. Champions do not come from those who show up for work to simply meet the call of how. Champions collectively subscribe to why.
Over the upcoming Holiday weekend, if you have not already done so deliberately, I suggest you get a bunch of really good whys for yourself, and back them up with a bunch of other whys behind them. Before you know it, the hows will lay themselves out for you in such a way that what once appeared daunting, is doable. If that does not sound like a worthwhile endeavor, I would be inclined to ask “why not”?