There’s been a lot of focus on the power of “why,” in terms of understanding one’s motivation and what truly drives individuals to go after whatever it is they’re seeking.
I’d like to take a different look at ‘why’ in terms of understanding, well…anything! To do this, let’s be clear about what we want from ‘why.’ (Say that 10x fast!)
We don’t want to use ‘why’ to make people justify themselves. Someone shouldn’t be left thinking, “Why do I have to explain myself?” Instead, they should be thinking, “How can I explain myself?”
The first question represents someone in a defensive posture, while the second is about building understanding – and that’s what we want from ‘why.’
‘Why’ – when asked from a place of curiosity – can create great understanding and bridge immense gaps. A curious ‘why’ gets someone considering, “so what led me to think, feel, or do that?” “Hmmm…why did I approach it that way?”
Such curiosity can offer great self-awareness and insight.
And yet, all too often, we assume we know ‘why.’ We fill in the gaps of the story with our own version of ‘why,’ which, coincidentally, reinforces whatever view we already had. Funny how that works out!
So, next time you’re a little confounded by what’s going on, or when you feel yourself getting a little worked-up (at yourself or someone else), start asking yourself:
- Why do I think that’s the case?
- Why am I interpreting things this way?
- What’s leading me to draw that conclusion?
- What’s making me feel this way?
- Why does it have to be this way?
- Why couldn’t it be different?
But beware: you may just stumble onto a light bulb moment of deeper meaning and clearer understanding.
Live on Fire!
D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)