Your Why: The 5 Whys

Two weeks ago, in our post Why? we shared our answer to a recent question, “Why do you do what you do as consultants and coaches?” Then we asked you to consider your why.

Many people responded to that post asking for guidance on figuring out their why. So last week we offered you a series of questions to support you in Your Why: Survey Your World. This week we want to give you an additional option that you can use to explore your why.

The 5 Whys

A great way to get clear about your why is to use this simple, yet effective, “5 Whys Exercise”:

  • Start with a question to yourself like “Why have I created this life for myself?
    • Example: You might say something like “I’ve always wanted a blend of work and family.”
  • Then ask yourself the second why in response to your answer.
    • Example: “Why? Well, I believe that without both work and family I won’t be truly happy.”
  • Then ask yourself the third why in response to that answer.
    • Example: “Why? There have been times in my life when I’ve had one or the other and it doesn’t bring me the richness that work AND family bring me.”
  • Then ask yourself the fourth why in response to that answer.
    • Example: “Why? It really matters to me to contribute my skills and make a difference with a team, and to spend time with people who I love deeply and am creating a life with.”
  • Then ask yourself the fifth why in response to that answer.
    • Example: “Why? Hmmm, my why is to build deep, long-term relationships with family and friends, and to work in a setting where I can see how I contribute to the success of the department.”

As you can see, it really is a simple exercise but one with powerful results.

This week, play with the 5 Whys and let us know what you discover!

Naming and embracing your why can be helpful
in knowing what career path you’d like to take.
Let us know if you’d like our support.

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