Digging Deeper into Your ‘Why’ Truly Opens Your Eyes

Why –These three letters carry so much power when you ask this simple question the right way.

It is not a one-step process that you can sort out in a single minute. To truly understand your motivation, you need to look beyond the first easy answer. The rewards from this small exercise have the power to light up your life.

When I was looking for a way to get back into shape, I started telling family and friends that I was considering becoming a triathlete. That drew a mixed reaction. Most people thought it sounded like a great idea; a few told me I was nuts. Regardless of their opinion, everyone agreed that I had a huge challenge ahead of me.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had what it takes to be a triathlete. I began asking elite athletes for words of wisdom and their best tips and tricks. One of them (I’ll call him David) gave me some advice I’ve carried with me and used in virtually every aspect of my life since: If you want to succeed at a big challenge like this, tap into the power of why.

You can’t settle for the first reason that pops into your head. When David asked me why I wanted to pursue this sport, I replied that I wanted to get in shape. He shook his head.

“No, that’s not enough,” he said. “I’m not talking about something as obvious as ‘get in shape.’ I’m talking about the profound reasons; the deep, intimate soul-level reasons why you say you want to achieve this goal. If you don’t know those deep reasons, Danielle, you’re not going to be able to withstand the pressure and pain of this sport.”

At that, David challenged me to write a list of the 25 Reasons Why I wanted to be a triathlete. He told me that the exercise sounds a lot easier than it is and that’s why it’s so powerful. Having to think of so many reasons why you want to do something forces you to drill down past the superficial shallows and into the depths where your truest self resides.

Once you’ve established that conduit to your most genuine self, you become powerful beyond measure.

I couldn’t wait to get home and write out my 25 Reasons Why. The first few reasons came to me easily:

  • Get in shape.
  • Stay in shape.
  • Have something positive/constructive to do every day.
  • Meet inspiring people.
  • Spend more time outdoors.
  • Do something just for me.
  • Participate in cool events.

After that, the “whys” were harder to come by. I doubted I’d ever make it to 25, but I trusted David’s advice and kept going. The trick here is to keep pen to paper and keep writing. There is power in getting out of the head space and into the heart space. What a rewarding journey, and what a difficult struggle!

By the time I reached down and pulled out the last few reasons, I was overcome with emotion. I was also surprised by what I’d learned about myself.

It turns out that my triathlon dream had surprisingly little to do with physical fitness and everything to do with conquering my feelings of inadequacy. It was about proving that I am capable of great things. It was about showing my daughters that we are all “powerful beyond measure” and that the purpose of life is to live.

With all of that as my motivation, I knew I could move mountains. On the many occasions when I felt that I couldn’t go on, I’ve summoned my top reasons why and gained an instant jolt of strength and resolve.

Since then, I have competed in and completed multiple triathlons as both an individual and part of a team. It took a lot of training and perseverance, which were fueled by my WHY. Whenever I was tempted to quit, I knew it would only fuel my future doubts and I didn’t want to dig that hole any deeper.

I use this exercise whenever I set a big audacious goal and it helps me overcome every obstacle I encounter on the way to making my dreams come true.

Having learned so much from this exercise, I encourage you to try it. You may be surprised to see what you learn!

Once you tap into your WHY, you rarely look back. If you need someone to help you create this list or to support you as you face that deeper reason, a coach can help. Regardless of whether your goal is athletic or based in another field, it helps to have someone cheering you on and reminding you of the power within.

Book a call and I am happy to help get you from that starting line right through to the finish!

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