Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Back in 2012, when I was training to be a life coach, I noticed I disliked “why” questions, possibly because they were coming from other inexperienced coaches who, unconsciously, layered them with projection and judgment. Even today, “why” questions can feel judgmental to me. I suspect it’s in the delivery.
At the risk of sounding like a 3-year-old, there are insights to be gained from asking “why” questions without the judgment or projection. When done the right way, “why” questions can help move stagnant energy, narrow down facts, create reasoning, and uncover motivations behind an action, emotion, or want.
Last week I was doing my usual 30-minute morning meditation. I often use a timer on my phone and I always turn the phone on silent, except for my timer notification. Unbeknownst to me, I inadvertently left my phone’s sound on.
About three-quarters into my meditation, the question “why” spoke out of nowhere. “Why what?” I responded. The voice continued, “Why do you do what you do… coaching? Why do you constantly choose coaching when other opportunities come your way?” At that moment, a notification chimed on my phone. I took a second to be miffed that I didn’t shut it off when I thought I did. After that, I didn’t think anything of it.
I answered my “why” and my meditation was complete. Gathering my things, including my phone, I noticed that an email came through from a client, which triggered the chime I heard. This email was filled with excitement, gratitude, and the client’s empowered forward movement from our work together. This email answered my “why” at the exact time I was reflecting on it in meditation. What great confirmation! I don’t do this work for the praise, but praise does guide me that I am doing good work. My “why?” This work positively changes people. It helps people grow through awareness. It evokes tough conversations. It creates space to process. It heals. It pays it forward. Its positive effects seep into other souls. It’s leading a movement of leaders. It’s finding their “why” and I find great joy in all of this.
More people have asked “why” now more than ever. The result? The Great Resignation! Many couldn’t find a reason powerful or healthy enough to stay in their jobs.
If you’ve worked with me, you know if I’ve asked you the “why” questions. You also know that I’ve challenged your motives (also part of my "why"). I’ve heard motives from survival to ego to heart-centered, each with its own energy and outcomes. To help deduce this answer to the purest form, I ask consecutive why questions, and inevitably the bottom-line truth is exposed. From there, the deeper work can begin with more open-ended questions and exploration.
As we enter into a new year, consider exploring your “why.”
If you struggle asking yourself “why” questions and you’re committed to uncovering the truth, I invite you to message me.