#23 Horizontal WHY: Keeping WHY Simple

The next order of business is to clear up some WHY confusion. When most people talk about finding their WHY/Passion/Purpose they talk specifics. Here's an example.

I attended a conference several years ago where a lady in the audience spoke about her WHY. She knew from an early age that she was born to be an accountant. And she'd played that role well for 20 years. But the work had left her miserable - burned out. Which is the opposite of what's supposed to happen when you're chasing your WHY.

She did some soul searching and listed all the things that had drawn her to accounting. Organization. Neatness. Rules. Formatting of reports. A place for everything and everything in it’s place, etc.

And she came to the realization that she wasn't an accountant, she was an orderly person. And that single step, widening her perspective, led her down a new path.

Casting Wide

Casting Wide

Fast forward a few years, and she’d become a successful personal organizer. Helping people arrange their space and their life to be more efficient. And she loved her new job.

Being narrow, in a silo, is vertical thinking - and it’s BAD. Horizontal thinking, going wide, stepping back for a more sweeping perspective - that’s GOOD. 

Here's another example to drive the point home.

A vertical thinker would say "My WHY is to be a banker". Not good - limited range. A horizontal thinker might instead say "My WHY is to help people better manage their finances."  He or she could live this WHY in lots of ways. Be a banker and/or do podcasts, write books, teach classes. Maybe create or sell software that helps people budget. The options are endless. And you could do most of this stuff as a full time job or just as a hobby. 

Closer to home, I've made this vertical mistake in my own life. I spent most of my career in software, and I, by default, came to think of myself as a technology guy. It wasn't a conscious thing, it just happened over the years. And it was a mistake.

I'm now just as content wrestling with this mapofme.com stuff. In fact, in this role I get to stroke my WHY in 2 ways.  I'm learning new software AND all this growth, motivation, connection stuff. That’s what a solid horizontal WHY can do for you. 

Besides, there’s plenty of time to get vertical. Like when we layer your business WHY on top of your personal WHY - which we'll do soon. But for now - think horizontal. Wide. Wide. Wide.

One last point on this topic. The wider you go, the less unique your WHY becomes. Others will have the exact same WHY. That's OK. Your personal WHY itself isn’t your superpower. It’s something you need to figure out, but it’s just the start. The real power comes from combining your WHY with it’s partner in crime - and we’ll do that next time.

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