Self-Improvement Requires a Rationale for Your Personal WHY — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

by | Mar 22, 2020 | 0 comments

5 min read


The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. ~ Mark Twain


Sandra is considered “successful” by her peers and colleagues. Admired by many. She often hears phrases like, “I don’t know how you do it.” Or “You always seem to have it together.” Professionally, she is an executive vice president, and was recently recognized by the local rotary for her civic contributions. And, to top it off, people love her.


Personally, Sandra is married with three kids, and by all accounts, everything is going well. She still makes it to her kids’ games, cooks dinner occasionally, and even organized the last lacrosse post-game barbecue.


However, despite her achievements, she’s conflicted internally about her own personal mission and finding time to balance work- and home-life. There’s a level of personal fulfillment missing, and she just isn’t satisfied with all of her accomplishments. It’s hard for her to truly grasp what it is that gnaws at her, and even harder for her to admit it to herself or others, knowing that she is so fortunate for the wonderful life she is living.



Sandra’s story is quite common. We hear time-and-time again from people, executive level folks, who seem to have it all figured out, only to learn that they are struggling in some aspect of their growth or contribution. One important way to grow as an individual is by creating greater peace and harmony in our lives by examining the values and virtues that mean something to us. To gain insight and clarity regarding our personal WHY, we need to define our rationale for the self-improvement goals we identify. Once our WHY is clear so will be our priorities, which guide our daily choices. Sandra knows that something is missing, but she hasn’t linked it to values, priorities, and choices. Life is complex and we must have the courage to explore our thoughts to be able to expand our influence. The challenge is to land on values, set your priorities, and make choices that get you closer to your goals.


Landing on Values

  1. Identify the three or four most important things in your life. As we all face COVID-19 and witness the devastating impact of this pandemic, we are forced to figure out what really matters. These should be three or four clearly identifiable aspects of life that you care about more. We typically see family as one of these

Values Determine Priorities

       2. Once you identify those things that are really important in your life, take a look back at your last few months. Does your checkbook reflect your values? Do your daily activities reflect how much your family means to you, for example? If your job demands that you work a tremendous number of hours, do you communicate to your kids the reasons why you are so committed? Our money, our calendars, and our communication are all examples of what we have prioritized.


Priorities Inform Choices

      3. Once you are clear on our priorities, you can create a rationale for why they are so important to you or what you want to change to reach your goals. If there is an area that isn’t aligned, what steps can you take to create greater alignment? Your rationale helps to keep you on track in your journaling and your efforts to reach your goals.

Living you Why


GoalValuesPrioritiesChoiceAlignmentNext Steps
To be more compassionate as a leaderTo demonstrate compassion in all areas of lifeWork with youth who are less fortunateVolunteer at the Boys and Girls Club on weekendsYes, volunteered for two weekends for a total of 4 hoursLook into becoming a Big Brother


Technical Tip: We are grateful for thoughtful modern day thinkers like Simon Sinek who have led the charge to defining our Why. There are others as well, from Steven Covey to Paulo Coelho, who provide remarkable and differing ways for us to gain clarity on our purpose. The technical tip is to read books like Start with Why to become “expert” in defining your rationale for leading better and growing faster. The better you can explain your rationale to yourself and others, the stronger you get at feeling the sense of accomplishment that Sandra needs in her life because of her priorities and choices.


Reach out and share your WHY with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.




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