5 WhysI was having coffee with a friend the other day, and she shared that she’s in a deep and annoying rut. In particular, she’s been wanting to embark on a very exciting and new business venture, but is struggling to get motivated and can’t quite seem to find the energy to get started. Can you relate?

It’s a common theme I’m hearing not only from clients, but also from lots of friends, colleagues and family members. Maybe it’s due to pandemic fatigue, the change of seasons, or all of the above. All I know is that when you’re feeling that way, it’s hard to get unstuck. I’ve got a strategy to help, and it’s all about finding the whys.  


What are the 5 Whys?

The 5 Whys technique is an effective brainstorming tool that can be used for solving problems, gaining clarity, or just getting to the root of a problem. It’s also used by coaches like me to help clients understand the real reasons why they do (instead of don’t) want to perform a particular activity or tackle a challenge. 


How to apply the 5 Whys for real

  1. Identify your goal. Think about a project or new venture you’ve been mulling over, but haven’t quite found the energy to actually follow through. It could be anything from starting a fitness routine or new business, to taking on a stretch assignment at work or completing a home renovation project. Once you have something in mind, apply it to the exercises I’m going to walk you through now. 
  2. What do you want? Let’s say your deepest desire is to switch careers, but you’re consumed with all the reasons why you should not do it, like it’s too risky, you’re scared, or are afraid of failure. Now, let’s reframe those fears and focus on why you want to make a career change. 
  3. Ask the whys. Start asking yourself why-related questions, beginning with the most obvious. Then work your way through at least five levels of whys until you get to a deeper meaning. Here’s an example:

Goal: I want to switch careers

5 Whys

What’s your deeper why?

In this example, we find out that this person wants to switch careers not only because they’re unhappy and stressed at work, but because it’s negatively affecting their home life. And the deeper why is that changing jobs will ultimately help prioritize and preserve their relationships, and that’s a pretty powerful motivator to make changes. 

In doing this exercise with your own example in mind, what did you discover to be your deeper why? How does that affect the way you might approach your goal or objective? My bet is that by reframing the situation to focus on a more meaningful reason to tackle that project or make major changes in your life, it’ll help you get unstuck and work toward achieving that goal. 

Do you need help getting unstuck?

The Vida Aventura team works with professionals ranging from corporate executives and managers, to teams, departments and entire organizations. We use strategies like these and much more to solve problems, achieve goals, dig deeper and help people develop and grow both personally and professionally. If you’d like to find out more about our services and how we can help you, contact us now. 


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