Why do we do what we do?

Happy young woman in black dress and pearls

This is a question that I often ask of both myself and of my clients (and of course friends and family too). Like Simon Sinek, I question, why? Why did you use those words, why did you react that way, why did you act that way?

To understand me a little better, I am first generation Australian. Both my parents immigrated to Australia from Hungary. I was brought up in a very European way of classical music, art, culture and lots of debates and discussions (plus being one of those ethnic kids at school that had salami sandwiches – I even had to go to the special English class (ESL) with the immigrant kids because being bilingual slowed my English comprehension down somewhat… but that is a story for another time).

From an early age I was encouraged to have an opinion, based on factual reasoning, to have a voice and be part of the discussion. Well, with a mother that has 2 PhDs are you surprised? I only have a Masters plus a few other degrees under my belt but I surely could take one of hers, no? But I digress. Lifelong learning is part of who I am.

What has always fascinated me from a young age is the question, why do we do what we do? It has taken me down a path of study including psychology, sociology, history, economics, communication and more. And then in my career I have focused primarily in working with people to transform themselves via training, coaching and psychology all within the context of business.

Now in the world of entrepreneurs, clients and suppliers – there is still the fundamental denominator of my career – people. And my question, one that I often ask my clients, continues to be relevant.

The core aspect of the why is motivation.

Let me explain.

In a recent conversation with my client Laura, she wasn’t able to explain why sometimes she felt very motivated with her business and other times she felt somewhat flat. To be an entrepreneur or business owner, we need to have continual drive and be self-motivated as the buck stops with us. So clarity over motivation is essential. I went through a process with Laura uncovering some basic motivators by asking her the following questions:

1. Why did you start your business?
2. What is the purpose of your business?
3. What service are you offering that makes a difference in your customers lives?
4. Why would they buy from you over your competitor?

By asking her these 4 questions Laura was able to start to gain clarity around her motivators, personal values and identify the issues that impacted her motivation levels.

There is no “right” answer to any of these questions, but rather the identification and understanding of what is really going on here? When we are not achieving our goals, part of the reason may be lack of clarity of goals. However more often than not it is a lack of motivation that drives the engine, us, towards those goals. And when times get tough, because they always do, we need to go back to basics to ask ourselves, why am I doing what I am doing. The questions that I asked above may not be easy to answer initially but in order to have clarity of your own motivation for your business, you should try to understand and spend time answering them.

If you would like start your journey in understanding your motivation, I invite you to a free 45 minute discovery call, here to book.

This is a real coaching session, not a sales pitch, to kick start you on your journey of gaining clarity and understanding purpose.

In addition to that I would like to point you in the direction of some relevant TED talks that may be relevant to your journey, particularly  Dan Pink’s Puzzle of Motivation as well as a an additional list of other TED Talks on Why We Do The Things We Do.

If you liked this article, please share it with your people. Or post a comment below, it is always great to hear from you and what you think.

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