A few years ago I was consulting with a telecom startup. One day the chairmen of the board (and primary investor) called me to ask a quick and simple question. “Dale will you take over as CEO?” I did not answer immediately – but somewhat out of obligation felt I needed to step up and take the reigns. I really enjoyed the people and the company. I became VERY busy. But one day I looked in the mirror found myself asking “Why am I doing this? I hate telecom?” Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself a similar question?
Click to Listen
Ask Why Often
Now I have learned to ask WHY often. The question brings clarity. But more importantly to you – I find I am often asking my coaching clients WHY. Not only do I need to know they have clarity – but knowing their why helps me direct the conversation.
Recently a good friend of mine shared his WHY with me. He called it his LIFE model. Wow – it hit home with me – and apparently with many others.
The LIFE Model
I forget when Jonathan Milligan of Blogging Your Passion first shared his LIFE model – but it stuck with me. Jonathan helps people who want to become full time bloggers. His LIFE model was needed to help him help others – but it goes so much further than that. I think it describes almost everyone I have met – certainly everyone I have coached.
LIFE stands for Lifestyle, Influence, Financial, and Effort.
L – Lifestyle: Jonathan wanted to be able to work where he wanted, when he wanted, and doing the things he wanted to do. If he wanted to work at a coffee shop today – no one was stopping him. If he decided to take some time with the kids today – he did not want to have to ask for time off. Even better, if he decides to take a month in the mountains, he can work from there.
I – Influence: Jonathan wanted to impact the lives of others in a positive way.
F – Financial: He was tired of getting a paycheck where he did not control the flow. He could at best expect two small bonuses in the year – a tax refund and/or a bonus. Otherwise, he was tied to a number all year he could not change. While having a steady paycheck is nice, it offers you no flexibility or control.
E – Effort: Jonathan is a hard worker. He wants to enjoy working hard. And he wanted to have something that drove him to work hard.
What is Your Model for Why?
When I saw his model I just knew he had described almost everyone I know. Clearly I was right. Him sharing his model has had a huge impact on his audience on Blogging Your Passion.
If LIFE works for you, then you need to get clear on the details. What matters to me and Jonathan might not matter to you – but from my experience this is going to be very close.
What would you like to change? Your career? Your income? Those you serve? The beginning of making progress is a clear view of where you are now vs. where you want to be.
Questions To Clarify Your Why
What does your tomorrow look like? Take a moment (or more) and decide. Think about what you really want from your work, your money, and your time.
Take 5 minutes and answer these questions?
1. Who do you want to serve? (If you are a Christian or of other faith the correct answer here is not Christ or God – that is a given.)
2. What are the constraints in your life that are in your way as you try to accomplish #1 above?
3. What are the challenges where you work today?
- Physically exhausted
- Poor morale
- Hostile environment
- Poor leadership
- Not enough money
- Others (list them)
4. Do you want to fix the feeling or the reality?
Get real here. Would you be OK if you could fix the work place with a new boss or some changes on the job? Would you feel like everything was perfect then? Or would that be a temporary solution only and later you will feel like you settled?
Make a Decision
DO NOT THINK ABOUT THIS LATER, do it now. Make a decision. You do not need more time to make this one. It might be one of these:
– I want to start my own company and get control of my life.
– I want to find a job where I can get control of my life.
– I am happy where I am and want to make it work even better.
Now you can answer yes to two of them, even three. But making this decision is a commitment. It is a start. From this decision, write it on a piece of paper and put in in front of your face daily. Time to quit thinking – time to act. The rest is details. I can help you there, but you have to decide to get off the fence and start moving in a direction.