There are two kinds of questions: what and why. There’s a time and place for each. What questions tend to be expansive and why questions tend to analyze. What questions help you look forward (ex: What would the ideal business partner look like) and why questions help you assess and sometimes bring you down (ex: why did this happen or why can’t I be in a good relationship).
Why questions are particularly impactful when you are designing meaningful goals. I recently spent a week on the East Coast giving five presentations about Living in YOUR Top 1% to companies in the real estate, bio/pharm and finance industries. Regardless of the industry, people have a challenging time setting goals that are personally meaningful. People seem to naturally set either vague goals (not sure what you are doing), should goals (goals society or someone else thinks you should do), or goals that do not resonate personally but are legitimate goals (I want to run a 10k and be fit and healthy but the person does not make health a priority).
This is where focusing on the why is invaluable. Why do you want to start your own business, why do you want to be a better leader, why do you want to be in shape, why do you want to be financially independent or why do you want to start a blog. When you are clear on the why, your motivation level increases significantly. Most people set a goal without every considering the why and how it connects with your values.
Here’s a three step process to get clear on your why and re-ignite your motivation levels:
1. Write your goal
2. Tell me why it’s important and why you want to make it a priority
3. Go through two rounds of why…if you want to start your own business and the why is to be independent, tell me why being independent is important. Perhaps you want to be the decision maker and determine the business strategy.
You will know when you get to the core why because it will resonate and empower you.
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook
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