What if the simplest of words is gold?

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Want better outcomes in work? In life?

Make better decisions.

Hard to believe, but you knew one of the best ways to make better decisions at around age 2 or 3. It involved saying the simplest of words.

Back when you were a wee thing, one simple word allowed you to learn…to soak up language and concepts and facts and nuance in that sponge that was your brain.

It’s the word WHY. Way back when you asked WHY. Sometimes incessantly.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of those questions from a kid, you know they can be exhausting…because you usually have to think about the answer.

Now as an adult, you understand that better decisions lead to better outcomes. Better decisions are…
… less impulsive,
… more thoughtful,
… easier to implement.
Therefore, they have less decision-maker’s “buyer’s remorse”,

So, what simple word did you use as a toddler — that you rarely use now — despite the fact it could be worth its weight in gold to you today?

Maybe we’re reluctant to use the word “why” now, because when we ask the question it does imply that we don’t actually know everything.
Maybe we’re too busy doing, to do much real reflection or strategic thinking.
It can’t be that we’ve used up our lifetime supply of asking WHY.

Whatever the reason — believe you me — it’s time to resurrect that long-lost tool.

Asking — and answering — WHY can lead to information that allows us to make better decisions.

Real-life example from the FreeOfficeHours session on October 20th. Claudia, a business owner who is also a professional speaker, asked advice on whether to change the speech that event planners repeatedly requested. They even re-booked her for the next time the same event was meeting! She wanted to switch to a different speech in the future. My intuition told me that once she had clarity on a few WHYs, her decision would be clear.

Why were you speaking to the group?
There are two parts to that question, really.

  1. Why did you choose to accept the speaking gig, and what was your intention/goal/desired outcome for the event?
  2. Why did the meeting planner hire/rehire you? I’m thinking that the planner wanted you to deliver the same speech, or they would has asked for another. Might also be helpful to know approximately what percentage of the audience members were returning? (Presumably they would have seen the speech the last time.)

Once we have these WHY questions answered, it’s again time to revisit the original questions, by asking this question: WHY you would decide to change your speech?

This blog is originally published in Marilee's newsletter.
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Marilee Driscoll

Writer/published author/awarded poet. Meditator. Gardener. Badminton, running. Consultant/coach/biz owner/keynote speaker by trade.