WHY?  What is YOURS?

by Dave Cottrell

WHY?  At first look, it seems a very strange way to start an article.  Yet this could be one of the most important questions you will ever answer.

Why do you do what you do?  Why do you spend hours on the internet, trying to sell things?  Why do you write regular blog articles?  Why do you work a job all day, then work way into the night on your online business?  Why are you an online marketer?  What is your WHY?  What is it that really motivates you to keep doing what you do?  WHY?

An oddly sad fact is that everybody has a WHY of some kind, but few think of it.  Because of this, their WHY is often very small, very un-fulfilling, and very short-sighted.  For example, a LOT of young people, perhaps the majority of young people under twenty-five years of age, are working for the weekend, so that they can party and get drunk to have fun so they can forget the week they just worked.  

Their WHY is to get drunk on the weekend and forget life for a while.  What a CRAZY thing to do, yet how common it is.  Most people grow out of this.  Some never do.

What is very sad is how many people have survival as their WHY.  Every waking moment is spent wishing they didn’t have to work at the job they have but doing it anyway so they can pay their bills and live another week.  Because survival is their WHY, all they are really ever going to do is survive!  If this is you, stop it!  This is no way to live.  After all, living is what we do all the time, until the day we die.  If we’re miserably traveling through this life just hoping it’s going to get better or hoping we’ll win the lottery, it is a miserable life, indeed.

Figure out what it is you really want in life and that should be your WHY.  That will motivate you above a miserable survival, up at dawn, in bed after the news, beer on the weekend kind of life.  

I don’t get to see my youngest brother a lot.  He works in the “oil patch,” keeping the heavy machinery moving throughout the year.  He’s there when the summer sun and humidity gets almost unbearable.  He’s there when the mercury dips below -40.  He’s there in the muck and dirt of spring thaw.  He’s there in late spring and early summer, when the mosquitoes start looking for an arm to steal, closely followed by the blackflies, and then the deerflies.  He puts in a lot of hours, has a crew, and keeps two big semis loaded with tools, welding equipment and a crane running 24/7.

One day, one of the very few I have seen him since he went off to make his fortune, he happened to be here and happened to come and see me.  I asked him what he was doing.  I said, “Why are you doing what you’re doing?”

His answer was that he was doing it to make money.  I asked, “Why?  What for?  You’re not a whole lot younger than I am, and you’re not going to live forever.  You better figure out WHY you want to make money and what you’re going to use it for.  You better start using that money, now, while you can enjoy it.”   WHY???

There it is.  Money is no good, at all, unless it’s being used.  If you work like the dickens to make money, but never spend it, someone else is going to!  That’s fine, if your WHY is to build up an inheritance for your children, but otherwise, you  had better stop and think about WHY you do what you do.

Thankfully, my brother did think about it, and he and his wife now go to Mexico and other places they really enjoy, several times a year.  I am very happy to see them doing that.  He works hard in an often very harsh environment, and makes a lot of money doing it.  There has to be a payoff.  For him, it seems he has found it.  He can give his wife the lifestyle she wants, which is very important to him, and they can enjoy some quality time together in some really nice places.

So, what is your WHY?   What are you working for?  What motivates you to try harder?  What is it that makes you want to stretch and strive and struggle?   This is SO important!  You need to figure this out, or you will be like a person running a race, but with no idea what direction the finish line is.  You can run and run, but it’s absolutely impossible to win, because you don’t know where you’re going.

Here’s a good exercise.  Take a piece of paper and write “My WHY,” at the top.  Then start listing anything you can think of that motivates you to do what you do.

Don’t be afraid to write down absolutely anything that comes to your head.

It’s fine to write down “make more money,” but don’t stop at that.

Think about WHY you want to make more money.  Do you want to buy something?  What do you want to buy?  Write it (or them) down.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. A new car
  2. College for kids
  3. A new house
  4. Retirement
  5. A vacation
  6. A new career

These are just a few.  It wouldn’t make sense for me to do it for you, would it?  Be careful, though.  It’s fine to put things down like, “a new career” or “quit my job,” but those are just rough, over all ideas.  They are like deciding to run that race we talked about earlier.  They don’t tell you what direction you’re running, though.  They need to be tuned.

Deciding what your WHY is can be a step by step by step process.  It’s kind of like building a house. ‘

The first thing you do when you’re going to build a house is acquire the land to put it on.  This is the basic idea, like deciding you want a new career, or to quit your job.  There’s a lot more to building a house than simply acquiring the land, though!  After than you have to prepare the site, put in the foundation, frame it, close it in, wire it, plumb it and finish it.  All of these are very important details, and you can’t really skip any of them, or you won’t have a very good house.why

Just like with the house model, details count.  Every detail is important.  What kind of house will it be?  What kind of siding, roofing, colours will you use?  How will you decorate it?  Hardwood or carpet?  Painted or paneled?  Furniture?  Without these details, you won’t have much of a house when you’re finished.

For your WHY list, it’s fine to put down “make more money” to start.  That’s your bare, weedy, uncleared piece of land.  What will you do with the money?  

Retire?  Good.  Where will you live?  What will you do?  What kind of a lifestyle will you have?  Will you own your own place or rent?  How about when the kids come to visit?  Will you have room for them, or will they have to stay in a hotel?

Go on vacations?  Where will you go?  How often?  How long?  Where will you stay?  What sights will you see?  What will you do?

Send the kids to college?  What a great idea!  What college(s)?  Will it be college or university?  Where will they live while there?  How will they get around?  Will you be able to visit them (or vice versa) when you want?  How many years will they go?  Will they be able to go on to PhD level if desired?  WHY?  What is yours?

Maybe your WHY is more altruistic than the ones mentioned.  Perhaps you want to be able to be independent from a job and financial restraints so that you can do volunteer work in impoverished areas of the world.   Perhaps you would like to do research that will help the next generation have better lives.WHY? To fight poverty?

The number and variety of WHYs is probably as endless and varied as fingerprints or DNA.  No two people are exactly the sames, so no two WHYs are going to be exactly the same.  

What IS important is that you have one and you know what it is.   Get it nailed down to where you’re very certain about it and know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.  By taking the time to carefully go through the exercise and figure out your own, personal WHY, you will be able to set goals with ease, and you will be able to attain them much more easily, because you know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing and what the end results are going to be.

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