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The Power of Why

Drop falling in the water with splashing

Recently I watched a YouTube video by Simon Sinek that he calls “The Golden Circle”. The video explained how Sinek developed a model to demonstrate that inspiring leaders lead from their inner circle.  Imagine 3 circles, one inside the other.  The outer circle is your what, the middle circle is your how and your center circle or “inner” circle is your why.  Leaders that lead from a clear why have far more impact on those they lead than if they were to lead from their what (what they do versus why they do it).

Simon Sinek believes a good part of the journey of life is getting clear on The Golden Circle and your big WHY, because it shifts and changes.  Yet, in some ways it stays the same, constant. I can share from my own life experience that there have been shifts and changes and there has been constant in regard to my Golden Circle.  The What and How have changed, the Why has been the same.

I was that kid in the neighborhood who was always organizing others to create something: a show, a game, a project, a recital.  It didn’t matter what it was really, what mattered was we were creating something and then I would encourage everyone to do their best.  In high school, I was not the “best” on our gymnastic or track teams; however, I was always the captain or co-captain — leading, arranging and encouraging others to do their best.

When I graduated, I started coaching gymnastics with my high school coach. I was again in a position of supporting others, encouraging them to stretch themselves and reach deep within for the tenacity to keep going.   Then I started working with the park districts to create gymnastic programs, organizing staff and participants, putting on shows, organizing competitions and always encouraging the athletes to be the most they could be.  I had a wonderful 25-year career in gymnastics as a coach, director, teacher and mentor.

After my gymnastics career, I was ready for a change and transitioned into a facility management position with the park districts.  After 5 years I realized that position was not my “Big Why”.  I had wanted a change but this was definitely not the right one.  So, I went back to my roots and discovered that what I enjoyed in my gymnastics career is what I did in the neighborhood as a child.  I created, arranged and coached.

At the same time that I realized facility management wasn’t for me, I heard about Life Coaching.  Perfect!  I enrolled at a leading professional coaching school, took my courses, acquired creditation and the rest is the life I am leading now.

Sometimes it takes an experience that is so dissonant to who you are to reflect what you are resonant with. Finding your Why seems like a daunting task.  Often I hear people say, “I don’t know what my purpose is.  I don’t even know how to start trying to figure that out.”  I get it!  I was once in that place.  When my gymnasts were struggling to learn a skill, I would tell them to “break it down”.  We would deconstruct and practice that part, drill after drill, and then add the next part until we had the whole skill mastered.  This allowed their body to get used to the feel of each particular movement.  To draw an analogy, that is precisely what I did when I was trying to discover my purpose in life.  I broke it down.  Of course, this did not happen overnight.  It was a process.  A process I now use with my coaching clients in supporting their discovery of purpose in their own lives.

If you are struggling with trying to figure out your purpose, your why, start with your day and get clear on what your why for the day is.  How can you serve this day purposefully? Then do the same for your week, month, year.  Once you break it down and begin recognizing purpose in your life, it will become easier to uncover your bigger WHY.  If you still need some help figuring it out, give me a call and I will support you through the journey!

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