‘Why’ – one simple word that contains a powerful question within it.

There’s been a lot of focus on the power of “why,” in terms of understanding one’s motivation and what truly drives individuals to go after whatever it is they’re seeking.

I’d like to take a different look at ‘why’ in terms of understanding, well…anything! To do this, let’s be clear about what we want from ‘why.’ (Say that 10x fast!)

We don’t want to use ‘why’ to make people justify themselves. Someone shouldn’t be left thinking, “Why do I have to explain myself?” Instead, they should be thinking, “How can I explain myself?”

The first question represents someone in a defensive posture, while the second is about building understanding – and that’s what we want from ‘why.’

‘Why’ – when asked from a place of curiosity – can create great understanding and bridge immense gaps. A curious ‘why’ gets someone considering, “so what led me to think, feel, or do that?” “Hmmm…why did I approach it that way?”

Such curiosity can offer great self-awareness and insight.

And yet, all too often, we assume we know ‘why.’ We fill in the gaps of the story with our own version of ‘why,’ which, coincidentally, reinforces whatever view we already had. Funny how that works out!

So, next time you’re a little confounded by what’s going on, or when you feel yourself getting a little worked-up (at yourself or someone else), start asking yourself:

- Why do I think that’s the case?
- Why am I interpreting things this way?
- What’s leading me to draw that conclusion?
- What’s making me feel this way?
- Why does it have to be this way?
- Why couldn’t it be different?

But beware: you may just stumble onto a light bulb moment of deeper meaning and clearer understanding.

Live on Fire!

D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

Author's Bio: 

Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP, is President & CEO of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), provider of the most comprehensive and experiential coach-training program in the world and originator of the Core Energy Coaching™ process. Since 2005, Luke and his team graduated more than 5,000 coaches and Coach Centric™ leaders across multiple platforms – top Fortune 500 execs, entrepreneurs, non-profit founders and educational leaders, and pro athletes. Luke has an avid interest in human potential, engagement and performance. Through coaching sessions with hundreds of clients as well as varied research projects, he seeks out the common threads that produce exceptional individual and team successes. His drive to learn these insights comes from being a dad to two fun-loving children and teaching them to live fully. In fact, Luke’s personal credo, “Live (and lead) on fire!” is omnipresent in everything he does!