If you’re missing this, you won’t reach your goal


What's your why?Someone asked me recently why I do what I do. 

Why, he wanted to know, am I a speaker and trainer and why do I speak about personal leadership?

I wanted to be a speaker since I was young, probably 12 or 13. But I never did it until I was in my forties. I suppose the safe explanation would be, “What could I possibly have to say?”

The truth of the matter is I was petrified of speaking. I didn’t have much of a “why” I could articulate out loud. I was also caught up in following the rules, being obedient, and making sure I didn’t make waves. 

Most important, I paid too much attention to what I thought other people wanted me to be and who I probably should be in order to be recognized and validated by others.

There was very little room for my own why to come out.

I actually had a why as a child, the same one I have now, but I couldn’t articulate it because I didn’t fully understand it. I wanted to help people—including myself—overcome fear so they could live to their full potential. 

What I didn’t have was the conviction or ability because I was locked down in my own fear. So, I couldn’t find my why until I learned what I needed to know—how to overcome fear.

Growing up, I was one of those people who sat back and observed a lot. Through the years, I watched everything and everyone around me. I watched how people interacted with each other. I watched the impact of people’s words on each other.

The more I watched, the more I realized that most people were afraid of the same things I was—afraid of mistakes, being embarrassed, failure, and, the big one: fear of not being loved. I noticed that most people either tried to be what other people wanted them to be or they weren’t as invincible as they seemed to me. I suppose a lot of the behavior I witnessed was that struggle to be validated, to be loved, and not to be abandoned.

I came to realize that we create our reality in our minds—a reality that isn’t truth, but made of assumptions—and we spend so much time in our own minds that we lose perspective about what’s real and what’s imagined. We make so many incorrect conclusions based on bad assumptions and bad thinking.

I learned to reexamine life, people, and how we think. I discovered that the hold fear has over us can be broken. It takes some work, and you can still do what you dream of doing, regardless of the fear. But you have to know your why, and it has to be strong.

Your why is important because if you don’t have a very good reason for pursing your dream, you won’t put forth the effort to achieve it. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, and there are a bunch of holiday parties coming up, you may not feel that saying no to all those delicious treats is worth the 10 pounds right now. You may decide to wait until after the holidays.

But if you need to lose the weight because you’re having a serious health issue, or there’s an event coming up you really want to look good for, then you’ll have the incentive to do it.

The bottom line is, if you don’t care enough about something, you won’t do what it takes to make the change or stay the course when the going gets tough.

So, think about what you want in your life and why you want it so much. Will it help you provide for your family, retire securely, live longer, feel better, get more time with your loved ones, make a difference in the world?

When you find the reason you really want something, chase that feeling. Put it in the forefront of your mind. You’ll want to reach and fulfill your why—not just your dream.

And make sure your dream is what you really want. Don’t go after something to impress someone else or be who you think you’re “supposed” to be.

I know that the life you lead is just one possibility, one version, of what’s possible. I know that for you, change is just around the corner. And it’s not as difficult as you think when you have the right incentive. 

I want you to find yourself, find your why, and make your change so you can live the life you want instead of living in fear. That’s my why.

So what’s yours? Tell me in the comments.


About Joe Serio

Dr. Joe Serio is a keynote speaker, trainer, and author who helps the people in your organization navigate resistance to change so they can move forward successfully.

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