One Key To Success: Answering Why

Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Kimanzi

Have you ever read or seen something amazing and thought, “I’m definitely going to do that?” Why did you want to do it?

As I started to chase my dreams and transition to truly living I read every blog my eyes could handle. I listened to every podcast I could find about self-improvement on iTunes. I devoured content and was inspired every ten What's your why?minutes, it was a blessing and curse!

As I started to take action and apply what I was learning something happened: it didn’t work!

What was going on? I studied, I came up with a plan and the people I learned from were really successful, so what went wrong?

Why is the engine that drives the car

I missed something very crucial, I couldn’t answer WHY I was doing what I was doing. I would write a certain way or even use a certain tool because that’s what I saw the big shots doing.

I would use social media this way, I would promote my books that way. I started this service or created that product, all because of what others had done with success.

The reason I didn’t have success and why you won’t either is because I hadn’t thought of why I should use that tool or why I should do things that certain way.

If I had thought of why I wanted to do this or that, I could have saved myself a lot of valuable time and resources.

Different situations require different actions

Great content and instruction is amazing and inspiring but not all of it is meant for you. You are unique and your dreams are unique, what worked for someone else might not work for you.

Sure you can force it and maybe see a few results but more than anything you’re taking time away from a different solution that could work much better for you.

Take great instruction you get and use the process but personalize the implementation!
Click to Tweet

The simple test with big results

If you see a new idea or something you want to try, perform the simple why test. Before you use that idea, just ask yourself why it makes sense for your situation.

Ask yourself why you think it would work and why it applies to your uniqueness. If you can answer why specifically, then you won’t waste your time or take away from a better solution.

It’s easy to get fired up from amazing content and it’s much easier to just want to copy someone else.
Click to Tweet

My why illustrated 

Now as I added these click to tweets I’ve asked myself why I would do it. I heard Derek Halpern talk about using them and I used to use them because he does.

By asking myself why I can clearly see the reason and value: people are more likely to tweet these quotes then the entire post. I put a link back to the post and when people tweet, their friends are likely to click back to here. I answered my why 🙂

See how that works?

Have you been guilty of not asking why you do something? List one example please 🙂

  • I love this quote – It’s easy to get fired up from amazing content, so stop copying others.

    I’ve been caught up in it a time or two. Especially with Twitter. I’m still trying to decide where I NEED to be in it rather than who’s method I should follow for Twitter. It’s a struggle and a learning process.

    • Wow, that is a great real life example of what I’m talking about, thank you. I’m sure through trial and error you’ll find what’s right for you. Thanks for adding value brother!

  • I know in for me I get caught up trying to make other people like me which is totally wrong. The way they build their Business and Organization will be different from mine and the tools and resources they use won’t be the same as mine. So its really important not to get caught in that trap. Great content Kimanzi.

    • Thanks Lincoln and so true. We all have been guilty of this at one point or another!

  • Great post. I needed to read this today. I had to ask ,’why am I blogging and writing books’. The answer to my question was to help individuals realize and live their God-designed in every area of life. I have to constantly make sure I am writing and speaking in my voice and not copying someone’s style or voice. It is easy to get caught up trying to copy someone because you see how many FB fans and twitter followers they have, how many comments they get on their blog or how many books they sell. I have to stay true to my uniqueness and what’s for me will come in due season.

    • Very honest comment Bernard and you have an amazing voice, so we need to keep hearing it. This is what I struggled with and why things didn’t move for me, I had to find my own voice.

  • I am so guilty of over-saturation Kimanzi. I was there most of last year, getting all i could and trying to implement it. Granted i was learning tones and all, but the application part was a mess. it’s easy to burn out and get discouraged when you are trying to be like six different people in six different niches! Now that am more sure about my audience, my why and my limitations, am using more strategy and less “quantity”. Great post!

    • From reading your blog it’s clear that you have found your voice and I’m so glad you did!

  • I was guilty of that for YEARS. Oh man, what a sad, sad path it was not asking my why. I used to write a lot of posts just for SEO reasons. The answer to the why was for traffic but I’ve learned there are such better alternatives to straight up SEO and building backlinks that are more in line with what I believe. Now, if I ask myself why I blog or why I’m on Twitter, the answer is completely different and I love it!

    Thanks Kimanzi!

    • That’s such a great real life example and I’m glad you came around. Thanks for adding value to the post.

  • We can save a lot of time and energy by asking “why” before we start doing and producing. When we have the answer to why we are doing something (and it’s clear, ethical, and alined with our purpose) it will move us toward our dreams. It will also keep us focused and moving in the right direction. Great thoughts bro!

  • One thing that I realize is that we have to try and see if it works, at least that is what I do. I would definitely try it and then track to see if it increases any metrics for me. I like the Click to Tweet, has it increased your tweets per post?

    • Definitely Lincoln, it has worked out great. That’s a great method Lincoln, keep up the good work.

      • DS

        It’s kind of funny to me because as a blog reader I don’t really like them. I feel like you’re telling me what to tweet, when I prefer to do my own thing. I do use them every now and then as a reader. But I get the fact that it makes it very simple for the reader.

  • I’m guilty of “doing what the experts say” and not experiencing success. At first I was bummed but then I sought God and asked Him to help me focus my energy. This really helped ease pressure off myself.

    One big example of this is I don’t look at my stats. Seriously, months will go by and never check. While stats are important, I was letting them have too much power over my blog. My main goal is to reach and connect with people, whether that is one, ten, a hundred or even thousands, the number doesn’t matter, the people do.

    • That’s gold TC, the goal is spreading a message and you’re doing a good job at it.

      • Thanks, Kimanzi. It was a tough lesson to learn but I’m glad to be free from my stats and able to focus on serving people.

      • I got to think about my last reply. I hope it didn’t sound like I was being judgmental to others who do check their stats (or implying they weren’t serving people). I simply meant checking my stats was a hindrance for me personally. I in no way meant to imply it for anyone else. Sorry if I was condescending. Hope this clarifies.

  • It’s so easy to just go through the motions and never take a step back and ask ourselves about our why. And that keeps us from really charging ahead forward and changing.

  • The “why” is so essential to have nailed down! If we can’t answer that question we will be like a boat at sea without any sails/an engine. Great post bro!

  • I can answer why. To help others. To share wisdom. For the love of writing. It’s “who” that I struggle with. Who is my audience? And “how.” How do I reach them?

    • Dan, start by asking your loyal readers and people who bought your book, why they did. Then use that info to nail down your target audience, find out where that audience is online and boom!

      • That’s easier to do in theory than reality. But I’m working on it.

        • Use a site like survey monkey and start doing some research. Email me as well and we can talk it through.

  • DS

    I used to worry how people would perceive my delivery style while speaking. I was worried about people not liking it. Instead of doing what I believed in my heart, I allowed that fear to interfere, which disrupted my message. Now I don’t hold back, and I deliver the way I believe it should be delivered.

  • I think asking why questions are so important. Not only does it ensure that we are on the right path, but it opens up our thinking so that we can recognize new ways of accomplishing what our “why” is calling us to do.