On rekindling your sense of purpose and passion

There is a great technique that is perfect to use when we are under pressure at work. It’s called the “45 whys”.

Basically – you grab a sheet of A4 (or a computer), find quiet time to reflect and document a big list of “whys” for the work you are doing or the work you want to do.

As yourself:

  • Why do I want to continue in (insert your field of work)? OR
  • Why do I want a role as leader in this industry? OR
  • Why do I want to be on a Board? OR
  • Why do I bother to get out of bed every morning and go to work?

Start writing. Just do it.

  • 1.......
  • 2.......
  • 3.......
  • 4.......
  • 5....... etc

Don’t stop until you have at least 45 reasons. Dig deep.  Don’t censor. Feel free to go beyond 45 as well.  Sometimes the best reasons come after the obvious.

When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful
— Oprah Winfrey

When would you do this?

This is perfect before a meeting where the pressure will be on, a job interview, a presentation or a funding pitch. It’s ideal when you are feeling down, under the pump or pressured about work. It's also great if you are feeling reflective and simply want to work out once and for all the answer to that age old question - What it is you want to be when you grow up?.

How it works

Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy in her book Presence, talks about the importance of being able to unpack your why and how a deep connection to your why improves your performance. 

Taylor Clark, journalist and author of Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool, unpacks some of the science behind fear and stress, and how being closely connected to your why helps you perform far better in stressful situations - performing seemingly impossible feats with relative grace and ease.

  • Entrepreneurs who pitch for funding have greater success when they are deeply connected to their why and able to articulate it and embody it,
  • Interview candidates come across far more confidently, capably and authentically (without being OTT) when they are connected with their why
  • Speakers on stage are able to deliver far more powerful messages and perform better when they are connected to their why.

And why it works

This why connection somehow short circuits the production of stress hormones and enables you to perform at your best without the Amygdala Hijack getting in the way (flight fight or freeze sympathetic nervous body response).

But the important thing is to take action. Remember – you can think about an apple, you can study an apple, you can research an apple – but until you eat the apple you don’t really know about an apple. So take action on this activity sooner rather than later and let me know how you go.

Then send me any wins or insights. I'd love to hear.

And if you need more evidence

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months