Did you set goals or intentions for yourself in 2017? If you did, you may already be feeling the pull to relax your standards. “Did I really say a 30 minute walk every day? That’s crazy!” You begin to back away…”No, not me, baby, it was the champagne talking.”
Is your sturdy resolve wearing off? Are your goals losing their bright, shiny allure?
You’re not alone.
When the alarm went off the last two mornings, I groaned. Suddenly, all the reasons I had the night before for rising early evaporated. As I lay there contemplating the benefits of more sleep I brought to mind the BIG WHY fueling one of my key goals for 2017. Remembering it was enough to propel me into an upright position.
When the Big WHY Falls Flat:
If you’re rolling your eyes at the idea of finding your big WHY, go ahead and finish the eye roll. Now, hear me out.
Yes, the idea of having a big WHY is talked about a lot. BECAUSE, to have a deeper sense of purpose around WHY you are doing, what you set out to do, will help you retain your resolve. However, what is often missing from the conversation is HOW to go about discovering this inner fire. Without sufficient exploration, we don’t go deep enough into the territory of our hearts to uncover true motivating forces.
Instead, we settle on what is logical and our most readily available motivations. While there is nothing wrong with being logical, rational reasons may not be enough to propel us out of bed on a cold, dark morning. When our big WHY comes solely from our head, and not in tandem with our heart, it lacks zest and vital energy. If not deeply rooted into the core of our being, it dislodges when we reach out and grab for it. We can be sent tumbling at a time when we needed to be more sure footed.
The Seven-Deep Technique – Hearing the Heart:
It takes some practice to connect the head and the heart. This Question-Answer Technique helps us get past the easy answers our brains like to offer. This approach slows down our thinking. By asking a series of questions, each one going a little further under the surface, our minds are forced to consider additional truths; ones closer to the reality of our hearts.
Seven-Deep refers to the number of questions (seven) to be asked around a particular topic. Each question builds on the answer given before. The most effective way to do this would be to team up with someone you trust, a coach, therapist, mentor, or friend and have that individual ask you a series of questions about WHY you chose a particular goal for 2017, that way you can simply focus on the answers and they can take notes. Recording it can be fun, too, so you can listen to it later.
Many people who use this technique ask “Why” related questions, like “Why is exercising for 30 minutes a day important to you?” or “Why are you committed to exercising 30 minutes a day?”
When I’ve used this technique with my clients I like to ask them “What” related questions, for example, “What about exercising for 30 minutes a day is important to you?” Based on my training, I like “What” questions. I think they feel less confronting to the one who is being asked the question, and allow the answers to come from a deep place more quickly. However, it is your choice.
Seven-Deep Question-Answer Technique (Example):
In the personal example I give below I asked “Why” questions since this entire blog is about the big WHY (not the big WHAT).
You can see how the questions build on the answer. Seven is not necessarily a magic number, although any less than that and the answers are likely to be more head-oriented than heart-oriented. Too many more than seven and the answers may start to get redundant. When this happens you know you’ve likely reached the authentic, heart-true answer.
One of my goals for 2017 is to finish writing a book.
1. Why are you committed to writing a book in 2017?
I am committed to writing this book in 2017 because it has been on my bucket list for far too long. I am tired of having this idea hanging out in my head weighing me down.
2. Why is this book idea on your bucket list?
For a long time now I’ve wanted to write about what happened ten years ago in my life and the circumstances that led me to pick up the pieces and figure out how to start over.
3. Why do you want to write about that time period in your life?
It was a life-changing event: divorce, miscarriage. I had a lot to learn about forgiveness, letting go of dreams, forging a new identity, being happy. I want to be able to use what I learned to help others navigate challenging times.
4. Why do you want to use what you learned to help others?
Because sharing my experiences may help others to not feel so alone. There is power in sharing our stories. I know I felt very alone and yet the more I read, the more I discovered others who had similar experiences to me.
5. Why do you want to help others not feel so alone?
I know how isolated I felt. I live in a small town where there are not a lot of people like me: divorced and childless. It is important to me to be bright, shining light that can help guide others out of their dark time, out of their despair.
6. Why do you want to help guide people out of their dark time of despair?
Because I know how much a heart can hurt. I know feeling there must be some way forward and not having a clear idea of what or how it could be. I want to alleviate some of the suffering. I know I can’t take it all away, and that everyone is on his or her own journey, and I want them to know there is a road map. Perhaps more accurately, there are cairns marking points along a route which they can use as a guide. I know the power of being able to build a happy, thriving life. There is something so amazingly satisfying about being able to get through a hugely difficult time and be changed for the better, to have not let that dark time define me, but rather, allow me to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. I want others to have that same realization and satisfaction.
7. Why was it important to build a happy, thriving life?
It is important because a happy, thriving life helps us be vital and purposeful. Writing this book – completing this book – is a huge demonstration of my vitality and purpose, it is a record of how far I have come, the lessons and the gifts. At the same time, it can help others also discover how to create happiness even from and through a dark time. By helping others create a happy, thriving life, I am helping bring peace to the world, one person at a time.
As you can see, I went from the pat answer of tackling something on my bucket list to helping create peace one person at a time. My reasons got more substantial and contain a greater sense of purpose. My resolve to get out of bed in the morning is now linked to something my heart can really get behind and use as the extra nudge even when warm covers seem more alluring.
I wish a BIG WHY to fuel you and your dreams in 2017.
If you would like to discover your BIG WHY with a coach, I would be happy to be your thought-partner as you explore the intentions of your heart.
Let’s boost your sense of contentment and satisfaction with a FREE coaching session.
Give yourself the gift of space and time to reflect with a thought-partner. You can, of course, do this on your own some rainy afternoon, sitting with your journal. And, the reality is, we very rarely give ourselves this time and space. Contact me today, your BIG WHY is waiting.
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Note: Seven-Deep Question-Answer Technique courtesy of the Coaches Training Institute and Dean Graziosi, author of Millionaire Success Habits