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Your WHY is important, but so is your NOW!

You have been hiding under a rock (shameful Geico reference) if you have not heard someone ask about your WHY. It has been made insanely popular by Simon Sinek who focuses on helping organizations and leaders discover their WHY in his latest book. Although Sinek has made it popular, this question has been a vital issue for a long time. In my most popular presentation and my upcoming book, WHY Matters NOW: How Some Achieve More and Other’s Don’t I challenge you to explore both your WHY and your NOW, as they are of equal importance!



The WHY:

What is your WHY? No, I am not asking you to look in the mirror and ask, “what is the meaning of life?” I am asking what motivates you.  What is your purpose? What is your intent? What drives you and energizes you? When you understand your WHY, it leads you to make better decisions, to say no more effectively, and persevere when challenges arise. Whether for new students, professionals, or organizational leaders, this question is important. I like to frame it this way. What do you offer/contribute and what is your effect/impact? It’s called the “I AM, SO THAT!” To further clarify it, it can look like “I AM (what you offer/contribute), SO THAT (your effect and impact). Let me give you my example. I AM (inspiring others to take purposeful action), SO THAT (they can achieve authentic results and challenge the boundaries of what they believe is possible). I ask myself what I am doing filtered through this lens. I challenge myself to explore avenues in my life where I can fulfill this, but what about you?

What is your Macro WHY? I say Macro because I believe we have Micro WHYs. The Macro is the big WHY that guides and governs us, but the Micro are the specific areas in our lives like working out, going to school, being a leader, getting healthy, etc.? When we uncover our true WHY it permeates to all the other areas of our lives. For example, when I work out, I usually choose things that allow me to challenge the boundaries of what I believe is possible. Like CrossFit and running a marathon. (I ran my first one last April, or should I say mainly ran, well ran and walked, well I finished!) When you know your WHY, it focuses what organizations you will be a part of, and how you live out the values in your organization! But it’s not just about the WHY; it is also about your NOW!

The NOW:

A synonym for NOW is passion. Not the type of passion where you are passionate about something, but rather the effort or intensity that you put into something. Have you ever been to a wedding, party, or formal?  Aren’t there usually two different type of dancers? One type of dancer is dancing very carefully in order not to break a sweat. They are so concerned what others are thinking of them, and they dance slowly.  Then there is another type of dancer that is giving it everything they have, and they brought three t-shirts because they knew they were going to sweat each one out. They are what I call, “ON 10!”  When you are “ON 10” you give everything you have, you are not as concerned about what people think about you because you want to give it your all! You realize that this moment is vitally important and you don’t want to waste it. If you had to rate yourself on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how passionately are you living your life right now? Be very careful not to have “ON 10” comparisons, because your 10 is different than mine. What are your “ON 10” behaviors in your organizations, at school, and with your relationships? Do you see how vital this piece is?

The WHY and the NOW:

You need both the WHY and the NOW! I have found in my research that If you are mainly WHY oriented, you are a dreamer, thinker, and take little to no action. You understand your motivation and purpose, but for whatever reason, you are not passionately pursuing it. If you are mainly NOW oriented, you are impulsive, rush to make decisions, and may confuse activity with progress. You give great effort, but sometimes in the wrong places. WE NEED BOTH a great WHY and a great NOW! How will you live your WHY, NOW?

Practical Actions:

  1. Write our Macro WHY statement using the “I AM, SO THAT” formula. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should try. If you are having some trouble shoot me an email at Justin@justininspires.com and I will help you.
  2. Identify what it looks like for you to be “ON 10” at school, work, your organizations, and in your life. Start challenging yourself to exhibit “ON 10” behaviors more often and have a close friend hold you accountable.
  3. Ask yourself what is something good that you have to let go of, to make room for the great. For example, I gave up a weekly FM radio show to give more time to researching, speaking, and consulting.


Justin has great leadership strategies embedded in his keynote.  Whether you are looking for leadership, diversity, or purpose driven inspiration, check out Justin and his ability to intersect amazing energy and practical content. Trust me, look at one of his videos!!!

Check out Justin’s most requested Keynotes WHY Matters NOW: How Purpose and Passion Inspire Meaningful Success and see why Justin was named as a “HOT ACT” in 2015 by Campus Activities Magazine.

Learn more about Justin: campuspeak.com/jones-fosu