Connect with us

Life

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

Published

on

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?

Advertisement
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Joel

    Feb 3, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Yes!

    Dig deep in unravelling the mystery of a person’s “why”. Too often when asked the question, the answer is surface level. I like to ask the question a minimum of 5 times before I even begin to believe that I have cracked the surface.

    Losing 10 pounds simply isn’t enough. Nobody will ever stay motivated by only wanting to lose ten pounds. Fitting into my old jeans so I can look sexy again…now we are getting somewhere.

    It’s funny how articles like your pop up a day or two after I have the conversation with someone.

    A fresh, inviting read.

    Thanks AK

  2. Oli P.

    Dec 16, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Why? Good question i get it all the time when i talk about my goals for the next years …. Never really had an idea a long period of time. I knew i got to do it and I’ve done it. But a while ago I got depressed, life never works the way you imagine and so it was also with my engagement…. after months of sadness and questioning everything… the answer came. WHY? Because i need to prove myself that i can, and when you end up in a similar situation, that should be the motivation. You’ve done things that though were impossible and now this is one of them.

  3. Ayesha

    Dec 12, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    After reading this I feel so enlightened, this is the thing which i was searching around. I felt so awesome to know that people in this world have some serious motivations for their goals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

Published

on

personal destiny statement
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

Continue Reading

Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

Published

on

how to manage your time better
Image Credit: Unsplash

Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

Published

on

how to increase your creativity faster
Image Credit: Unsplash

Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending