I’m going to tell you about the intensely powerful word that is why. This small but mighty adverb is most often heard in the midst of tragedy, sorrow and turmoil:

“Why has this happened to us?”

“Why me?”

“Why do good things happen to bad people?”

But there’s another kind of why … the type that methodically pushes, prods and stabs at our insides before we even know to form it with our lips. It’s not the tragic why, but the covert, well-meaning kind that resides down deep within each of us, just sitting there waiting for someone … anyone … to bring it out in the open. And it can be life-changing.

My Why

A woman I know had a run-in with this word a 10 years ago. She had a great, well-paying job, and was living a seemingly happy life. But something was missing: she wanted to contribute and make a difference in the world around her.

This woman had been dabbling with the idea of becoming a coach and facilitator, mentioning it countless times over a number of years to her close friends. One day, one of her very patient confidants calmly challenged her with a simple, sincere question: “I don’t understand what you are waiting for … why haven’t you started your own coaching and training business?”

That wanna-be-coach was me. And that simple why stopped me in my tracks. My eyes widened, and I’m pretty sure I mumbled and stuttered and stammered, blurting out a response she just didn’t find satisfying. So I was forced to ask myself, “Yeah, why haven’t I done that?”

Once that why saw the light of day, it struck a very sensitive nerve. I not only failed to have any logical explanation, I knew there was no turning back. It was like something switched on inside of me, and my path was chosen. But I would not have seen it so clearly, had someone not forced me to answer that question that began with why.

Your Why

Most of us have something we’re not doing, exploring, being or creating because we haven’t asked the good kind of why. We haven’t questioned our roles at work, in society, with our families or as a friend. And sometimes it just takes a friend, coach or colleague to ask the powerful and transformative question:

Why not you?

Why not now?

If you have a strong reaction one way or another when you have to answer why, it’s time to pay attention. All you have to do is listen to the voice inside and act.

Do you know why? 

Do you have a why story? Have you been challenged to answer the why, and found the path you needed to take? Or is there something you’re holding close to your chest that needs to be set free? Please tell us about your why stories by leaving your comments below.

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