I love the word why! It is absolutely, hands-down my favorite three letter word.
Why, Arizona is a small rural community in Pima County.
Why is an adverb, a conjunction, a noun and an interjection.
In scrabble, why can get you 12 points.
And there is an indie rock band named Why?
But most importantly, Why is a way to describe your destiny or your purpose. Why are you here on this planet? What is your larger purpose? Why do you get out of bed every day?
Understanding your purpose or your why helps you understand who you are, what you stand for and what might be holding you back from taking action. All of your actions have the potential to inspire someone in some way. Understanding your why helps you figure out what kind of leader you want to be.
It’s not just a nice thing to have or to dream about. Your Why is what guides every response and every decision, especially when you encounter challenging problems as a leader.
Getting To The Root Of The Problem
“Why” is the way to get past the symptoms to uncover the problem. So often, we stop at the symptom. We get bogged down in the details, the blame game, and the outward results. But those symptoms are just a manifestation of the deeper problem.
What happens if we don’t uncover the root of the problem? The symptoms will manifest again and again, most likely showing up in different places. I call that a pattern. And before you know it, you realize that you are tolerating all sorts of things in the environments that surround you.
Stop putting Band-Aids on the symptoms. Get to the root of the problem. This requires some reflection, thought and here is the big one…non-judgmental awareness.
Putting aside your judgements and asking “why?” with curiosity and wonder allows you to understand the problem, examine it, reflect on it, see it from a different perspective and make a choice. Choices give us the ability to open up a world of opportunities and possibilities, which is what makes transformation possible!
Responding Rather Than Reacting
When you are operating on the surface and addressing symptoms, it’s easy to find yourself reacting to situations as they arise. One of the skills that is part of effective leadership is shifting from reacting to responding.
Responding comes from a place that is rooted in a deeper purpose – or Why. It allows you to come from a place of curiosity and examine your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior.
Ask “why is this making me so uncomfortable?”, “is this the truth or a story I’m making up?”, “how do I want to respond to this situation?”, “how is this connected to my purpose?” and “is this how I want to show up I the world.” Allow yourself to be a human first. When you have that awareness, you can be intentional about how you respond. In my Coach Approach Leadership guide, I talk more about the shift from reacting to responding, which is part of the triad of transformation. Download your copy of my Coach Approach Leadership Guide to learn more about powerful shifts like this.
Discovering Your Why
Uncovering your Why requires a deeper understanding of your personality, your superpowers, your survival intentions, and your experiences. I have a process that I take clients through to discover their Why and organize their leadership style around it.
As you can see, WHY is directly related to becoming a coach approach leader. It’s the foundation actually. This little, three letter word can change YOUR world.