How to Turn What Bothers You into Fuel that Drives You

It’s the buzz to talk about “what’s your why”. Simply said, your why is what motivates you. Who are you really; what matters to you?

My “why” is an important part of my vision. In fact, most successful people have a powerful why that motivates and drives them to keep going. For many, the why is deeply emotional and something they are passionate about.

One financial advisor might be driven to help people create a solid retirement plan another may be passionate about life insurance. The why that is under that probably came from a significant life experience. One of them may have watched their parents suffer when a life-long employer from whom they were expecting to get their pension went out of business taking their retirement plan down the tubes with the company. That kind of experience can be the catalyst that drives them to create a successful practice in order to help as many people as possible avoid the same disaster with their retirement.

Many a massage therapist experienced relief from a painful physical condition at the hands of a massage therapist. Because of their own experience, they’ve become so passionate about the benefits of massage that they choose to help others find relief from physical pain.

Both of these examples show a powerful why that lies underneath the desire to be successful. To them, being successful means acting on their own passion and desire to help others out of or to avoid some misfortune. That desire usually shows up in the vision exercise somewhere. When you’re doing your vision exercise, dig deep to find your why.

Sometimes, when I tell people how important it is to have a vision for their ideal life, they have no idea where to start or what it looks like. Defining your vision is so important, because without it, it’s pretty much impossible to do the work of daily visioning required to reprogram your internal GPS. And, left to its own devices, your internal GPS is taking you somewhere all the time. Left on autopilot, it is taking you to more of what you currently have.

When people have trouble defining what their vision is, I find that it often helps to identify what it definitely is NOT. In other words, begin to describe those aspects of your life that bother you. Make sure to look at family, work, relationships, finance, health, society and even your hobbies. What things irritate or frustrate you? What aspects of your work cause you the most stress? What activities do you dislike the most or put off the longest? What societal issue makes you really mad or sad?

Some of you may be surprised that I’m suggesting that you spend so much time on the “negative” aspects of your life, because you hear me stressing how important it is to focus on what you like and prefer. I’m suggesting it because there is so much you can learn about yourself by looking at “what’s not working”. When you know what interferes with your happiness, you can begin to define the opposite of the negative which then becomes your positive.

After you’ve written at length about what is NOT working, it is time to take that and write down the opposite for each dislike. It’s critical that you describe the “positive opposite” using only words and phrases that describe what you’d like to have instead of what you dislike. This sounds so easy until you actually start to write it down. Most people spend most of their time talking about what they dislike. The media and advertising also keep us focused on the “negatives”. Here are some statements that I’ve had people write as their “positives”. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to stop judging others.
  • I don’t want to work so many hours.
  • I don’t want to be so lonely.

If you’ve read any of my posts about avoiding the “nots”, you immediately caught the examples that have nots in them. The others might have slipped past you, though. The best way to explain the more effective way to say these is for me to show you how I would write them. Here they are in order.

  • I am healthy and physically fit at my desired weight of xxx.
  • I accept and respect others.
  • I am living a perfect balance between work and my personal time.
  • I am enjoying many fun and loving relationships, and my life is full of my favorite people.

At first glance, the first example may appear to define what the person “wants”. Actually, it still talks about what is “not wanted”. The person wants to lose weight; in other words, wants to be rid of something. Your internal GPS always listens and brings you what you ask for. It hears that you want to lose weight, so it keeps bringing you into a situation to lose weight by keeping you at a weight that is too high making you want to lose weight. It is a continuous and unproductive cycle. Notice that the rephrased statement defines clearly what is actually desired.

The same is true about “stop judging others”. Your internal GPS is happily bringing you more opportunities to stop judging others. I’d bet that what is actually desired is to feel harmony and acceptance for others. So, state what the desire is.

In the 3rd and 4th examples above, the statement includes the word “don’t” which is a contracted form of a NOT. It also speaks about what is not wanted. Notice that the rephrased statements describe a clear vision of what an ideal situation might look like.

When you are writing your positives describing your desires, read them after you’ve written them. Look to see if any words in the statements describe what bothers you or what you would like to be rid of. If so, rewrite it until you are describing the ideal clearly.

If you would like some help, schedule a free 10-minute call to work out the most effective words to use.

Coach’s Challenge:

Take some time this week to write out what bothers you and reframe it into a positive statement about what you’d like to have in your life. If you’re bold, share your positive statements with us in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Suggested Resource:

This book provides a wonderful framework and process for discovering what your passions are.

Journalution by Sandy Grason is available in my Amazon store.