New Year – Your “Why” comes before setting goals

why rooted in purpose

Every year so many of us set New Year’s resolutions, a to-do list of HOW we are going to do things differently. As we also know, the vast majority of such resolutions are not carried through. Hmm.

This year, consider reflecting first on WHY you want to make a change. If your WHY is powerful enough, it will carry you through the tough times that you will inevitably face if you seek change.

Let me carry that a little further. When is the last time you really took time at the start of the year to be clear on your “WHY“, what drives you as a human being? Not WHAT you want from life or HOW you intend to get there, but WHY that is important to you?

I wrote on Christmas Day in “Father Christmas asks – What’s your Centre?” about finding your centre, finding your WHY.

One other element to this is to look to understand the WHY of others, and to recognise that your sense of their WHY may not align with their own. To this I give you a parable :

An ambitious young management consultant in their late 20s exhausted yet still energised by an exciting career and opportunities in London was taking a short break in a small village in the Greek Islands. As they sat sipping a cold drink at a taverna by the ocean, they saw at the dock one small boat with several large fresh fish in it. Next to the boat was a fisherman sitting in the share tending his nets.

The consultant walked onto the dock and was impressed by the quality of the fish, so thought to talk to the fisherman, remarking to themselves first that they both appeared to be of a similar age.

The consultant asked the fisherman how long it took to catch the fish. The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” They then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The Londoner then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Greek fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, spend time with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and ouzo with my friends: I have a full and busy life.”

The management consultant scoffed, “I have an MBA and work for one of the world’s top consultancy firms, I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then they added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Athens where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”

To which the Londoner replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Greek fisherman.

The consultant laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”

“Millions? Then what?”

To which the consultant replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small fishing village in the Greek islands where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, spend time with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and ouzo with your friends.”

What is your WHY for 2018?