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Why Knowing Your “Why” Is Your Greatest Tool for Success

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Mountain man

Wow, this is hard! Did I really sign up for this? I am about to throw in the towel! Are these the questions keeping you up at night as you push yourself along your entrepreneurial journey? Unfortunately, this happens at all stages. We live in a noisy and competitive world and maintaining the status quo is no longer accepted. Which means we are constantly having to change directions and conquer doubts.  

Today more startups, apps, and ideas are entering into the marketplace than ever before, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to get the attention of your target audience. One day you’re on an extreme high and the next you find it hard to pick up the phone after a tough defeat. But what keeps us pushing even when all seems lost and traction is limited? Insanity? A short-term memory?

Not really, but kind of! If you find yourself able to push forward in spite of never-ending setbacks, then you have probably been able to identify your strong “why”. There are several kinds of whys, such as the “why you want to get that next sale.” But your strongest Why is the reason that you will continue to push for that sale even when the previous attempts have failed. Your strong “why” is the reason you continue to push when validation comes few and far between.

Why your “why” is so important.

Having a strong “why” is what keeps you in the fight when everyone else quits. A strong “why” is what motivates your team when all seems lost. A strong “why” is the reason you will succeed while everyone else fails.

In the back of your mind, you might have a vague understanding of your own why. But clearly defining and identifying this why is crucial for long-term success.  So how do you define your “why”? Or as I would say, your “internal motivator: Seven-whys deep.”

Let’s use a common goal like weight loss or getting fit. We all know at the start of each year millions of newly motivated resolutioners flock to the gym with hopes of changing their lifestyle and decreasing waistlines. Most of these individuals come face to face with the confining realities of their prior lifestyle, and remember why they didn’t workout in the first place.

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

Most individuals fail to succeed in their New Year’s Resolution goals, not because they lack commitment, but rather their “why” was too superficial. They didn’t dig deep enough or ask enough “why’s” to keep them pushing when life got in the way.

So what does this look like in application? Where do most fall off when it comes to the motivation wagon? When thinking about your goal, your weight loss journey, or even taking the entrepreneurship leap, first ask yourself “why do I want this?”

Example:

Person 1: I want to lose 10 pounds (this is where most people stop)

Person 2: Great! Why?

Person 1: Umm…(uncomfortable silence) Because I do!

Person 2: OK, what will losing 10 pounds do for you?

Person 1: Well it will help me fit into those jeans I used to fit into years ago.

Person 2: Great! So what will fitting in those jeans do for you?

Person 1: It will make me feel sexy!

Person 2: Great! What will feeling sexy do for you?

Person 1: Then Tyler (or insert any name here) will like me.

Person 2: Great! What will…?(I think you get my point.)

So, for Person 1, working out to get Tyler to notice her is what will get her to wake up at 5AM in the morning, change her eating habits, and get her on the right track towards her decreased waistline. Now, I know I will get hate mail from people saying, “That’s a superficial why!” Really!

See, the thing is I never told you your “why” had to be altruistic or even make much sense. The only purpose of defining your “why” is to help you, or push you, when you are facing tough challenges or when you feel like quitting.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Your why is your motivator.

Sometimes the worst thing you can do for someone is to try to rationalize and justify their “why” for them. To them, their “why” is their motivator, their nonexistent exit strategy, their reason to continue when the whole world tells them to quit.

I know some people’s “whys” may sound crazy, but to them it makes perfect sense. For me, no matter what, I really only hear the negative because it motivates me to prove people wrong. Is it really not good enough?

Maybe…

Is my reasoning healthy? Probably not. But who cares as it keeps me pushing day and night to exceed my expectations from the day before. I am motivated by negative reinforcement over positive. I guess it’s the athlete in me.

For you though, whatever pushes you to move through the noise and past the struggle is the strongest weapon in your arsenal. The strong “why” will be the reason you think of alternative solutions instead of throwing in the towel.

Important Tip: Accept that your strong “why” may lose its effect and no longer keep you motivated. Don’t worry, that’s normal. If that ever happens, go back to the drawing board and restart the multi-level why process to redefine your internal motivation.

Memorize it, write it down and pin it to your dashboard or somewhere else you will see it regularly. This simple task will help you in business, fitness, or in any goal you wish to pursue.Remember, your “why” is a deadly weapon. Use it wisely!

What is your why and how has it propelled you towards success? Please leave your thoughts below!

AK Ikwuakor, also known as Coach AK, President and Founder of Empower 2 Play, is a Sports Humanitarian, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, former All-American Athlete and education expert who has worked with thousands of students and community leaders from around the world. AK uses sports-themed initiatives and VR technology to bridge cultures and communities as well as connect youth leaders from around the world to foster empathy and promote peace. AK has appeared in numerous print ads and TV commercials for companies such as Nike, Yurbuds, Women’s Health, Sony, Fox Sports, The Doctors and Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? Unfortunately, he was not smarter than a 5th grader! AK is always looking to connect (Linkedin) with like-minded individuals wanting to make a positive impact on the world. The question is who are willing to take the risk?

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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Life

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling

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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Life

Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.

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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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