Is Your WHY Big Enough?

Abstract business background.

The last several months I have felt like I’m in a big soup pot, stewing. Simmering. I felt like I’ve been marching in place and sometimes in circles. And now I feel like I’m on the precipice of change. What I originally set out to do is not right for me anymore. I feel like something has got to give if I’m going to move forward.

The funny thing is, several people I’ve talked to feel the same way. They feel like they’ve undergone some important internal changes over the last several months. They too feel like something big is about to shift and separate the wheat from the chaff in their lives. Because we can’t keep going like we have been, marching in place, waiting to see what comes.

I’ve already made a huge shift—a quiet shift—in diet. My husband and I have changed the way we eat. We’ve minimized simple sugars/carbs and focus on getting veggies in our meals. (I admit, I still have to be sneaky sometimes since the hubs doesn’t like veggies.) As many times as we tried in the past to lose weight, we are now losing weight and getting healthier day by day almost as a byproduct or side-effect of lifestyle changes. It’s not temporary—this is just the way we do things now, which is why it’s finally successful.

I think you have to have a “Why” big enough to make you go through with changes you want to make. Our diet was finally able to stick because of a health scare that caused us to change our ways. We knew what was right prior to the health scare, but we didn’t *feel* it, we just *knew* it. The scare made us feel it and so we took action that stuck.

In my writing career, I was taking action based on that same mental kind of knowing. Everyone touts “follow the data.” For me, that resulted in making decisions that make sense for someone else, some generic setup, but not for me. Lots of writers who are insecure about the business-side of authorship are like me. I’ve been trying to be someone I’m not and so I’ve been marching in circles with my fingers in my ears, not wanting to hear the truth but not willing to give up. Sometimes following the data (which can be short hand for “follow the money”) only leads you away from yourself and your heart’s way of knowing.

Not that I’m suggesting you only follow your heart, either. That can be a recipe for disaster. Ever hear of starving artists? It’s usually not because they don’t have talent, it’s usually because they squander the amazing talent they have. They don’t use their heads, only their hearts. But creating art in obscurity is not enough. Art is meant to be seen and felt—only then is it truly art.

So you need both. I think I’ve been stewing in this soup pot while my heart and head were catching up to each other so that I can make better decisions for my life. Decisions that will stick. And like the diet, doing the right thing for deeply felt personal reasons yet based on data and research, should, I hope, result in success almost as a by-product or side-effect.

It bears repeating: You’ve got to have a Why big enough to make you go through the changes you want to make in your life.

What is your Why? Is it big enough?

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