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5 Why’s

This week I thought I’d offer a useful coaching tool, when you’re feeling stuck and need to choose. It’s called the 5 why’s. It was given to the world in the early 20th century by Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese inventor and industrialist. I find that it’s really useful in getting clarity about something I’m fogged up on.

It’s a very simple method: ask why 5 times.

To demonstrate how it works, I’ll pick an example from my own daily life that I often get stuck on:  procrastinating working on a project I’m actually passionate about.

The problem today is that I need to – want to – break down data I’ve collected that will help me move forward on my current project. Every time I look at that ‘to do’ on my list, I find my fingers moving to the keyboard doing something else that isn’t even remotely important, telling myself that I’ll begin the important to-do after this little diversion. Then – magically – another diversion pops up right after, and on it goes.

Why did I feel the need to put off, even a few minutes, this important task in order to do something fun and yet unimportant? Because it feels like a huge lot of work that I may be totally wrong about.

Why? Because I’m conflicted about it.

Why? I continue to worry that I’m an imposter, and that what I offer is really of no or little value.

Why?  Because, if I’m honest, I’m afraid of doing something so unique. It’s as if doubting myself is safer.

Why? It gives me a back door.

Bingo! That back door is so familiar to me. “Sure I’ll give this a go… and if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to this other thing I know how to do (and feels familiar, comfortable, and safe).”

The 5th Why often takes me to a place I manage to avoid if I give up too soon. It’s worth hanging in to the end.


Quote of the Week

Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.”

– Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat 


Start with Why? 


I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.