The "WHY" is What Makes the World Go Round.

What are you afraid of? Do you know why?

I have a sign outside of my bedroom door that says:

“Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You.”

It's a nod to a famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. A local magazine recently featured my mantra in a piece they were doing on living a full life.  It may be simple, but calling out my fear and moving forward every day has been a game changer. I certainly couldn’t have left the (perceived) safety of Corporate America without harnessing a LOT of courage. Speaking of which, part of my career change was hard because the WHY seemed important.  For example, I love to travel, I love taking vacations.  As a long-term employee, I had a LOT of (paid) vacation time so it was hard to walk away from that.  But when I started thinking about how ironic it was that one reason I was staying in a job that I didn’t love, that wasn’t challenging me anymore, was that I really looked forward to taking vacations.  WHY? 

Because I needed those vacations to get me through everything in between.

(Ouch! I own that truth but it is still a hard one to share.)

Armed with this new insight, I had to dig deeper, "What if I found a job I loved so much that the vacation time wasn’t so important?". The underlying values I was honoring by traveling a lot were a sense of adventure and having new experiences. Knowing this helped me figure out what was next. I harnessed my WHY to take action. Both are values that I’ve channeled as an entrepreneur.

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Have you spent time reflecting on WHY you do the things you do?  Or maybe more telling is WHY you choose not to take action?

 

In our busy world, the opportunities to slow down and reflect on what's important to us are few and far between-  unless we make it a priority.  But taking the time to do so is revealing and can help us understand ourselves better.  

How can you get to the WHY? 

  1. Listen up!  Simply listen to your intuition and turn up, down or off the volume on your fear.  We, as humans, have a very strong fight or flight reaction that regularly encourages us to make the safe choice. Sometimes, even worse, the fear floods us with an overload of emotions or mixed messages which leads to paralyzing inaction (I always think of a little turtle pulling its head and limbs into it's protective shell until the threat is gone- probably too much Dr. Suess when I was growing up). Fear is our voice tasked with keeping us safe, so it prefers the known. 

  2. Reflect. Focusing on the WHY will help you discover your motivation (or lack of) to accomplish BIG (and small) things in your life. If you’ve dreamed of vacationing in Europe, why haven’t you gone yet? Always wanted to compete in an Ironman, why aren't you training? Thinking about going back to school, why aren't you researching programs?  Something is holding you back....excuses of money, time, family commitments and more. Instead of focusing on all the barriers that make your dream (hypothetically) impossible, take action to make it possible! Start saving money, adjust your schedule to make time to train or research your options.

When the universe talks, you have to listen! Photo credit:  Aiden John

When the universe talks, you have to listen!

Photo credit:  Aiden John

 

Sure my next trip involves cashing in airline miles and hanging out with a dear friend in Arkansas instead of jetting off to (insert exotic destination) but every day in between vacations is an adventure now. Its easier to inspire dreaming when you are chasing your own.

Posted on October 8, 2014 and filed under Career change, Values.