Getting Back To "Why?"

Feel like you and / or your organization have lost the way? Go back and ask the question "Why?"

I am going to start off with a story about a person I know. This person right out of college got a job selling in a company where his father had been for 35 years. Fresh out of school and newly married, this person defined himself like most people in his generation by how high and fast the ascent in his work. He was a typical workaholic. He worked all sorts of hours. Never enjoyed a promotion for more than a day before looking for the next step in the organization. Material possessions were used to either communicate where he was in his career or where he wanted people to think he was aiming.

Life was good. He was a rising star and had a great wife, a new car and nice clothes. Then he was given a gift. He started having problems breathing, he felt sick and he developed a deep persistent cough. This workaholic refused to go to the doctor. One day the symptoms got so bad that he needed to see a physician. The doctor said that it looked like walking pneumonia. Standard practice was to get am x-ray, take some antibiotics and get some rest. That was the game plan until the next morning when the physician called back and ordered this person to the hospital right away. The diagnosis: Cancer.

This person surprised how this could happen to someone so young. After all, he was only 26 with a six month old daughter! That person was me and that was the start of my journey to answering the question "Why?"

You may think that the "Why?" question was a "Why me?" question. It was not a question born out of self pity, although I had many of those days also. The "Why?" was truly the curiosity of why was I put on this earth and what were the gifts that were given to me. Over the next 20 years, I learned the answer to these questions. It has been 20 years since I received the gift. Why do I call this time of my life the gift you ask? Because I found out what is really important in life and also who I was. It taught what was important and what was not. What made a difference and what did not?

Believe it or not, my career skyrocketed even more after the gift was given to me. I got promoted 6 times, attended many development programs and made a difference in other's lives. I saw how I fit into the big picture, I set myself personal and professional goals that utilized and developed my strengths and thought out feedback from people who I really respected.

Through my life, I am able to keep and apply what was taught to me by the gift. At the large pharmaceutical company I spent 20 years of my life, I was truly able to build a sales team that was based on integrity, hard work, camaraderie and respect. The sales results of my team were astounding! We built a culture based on communication, integrity and the need to do the right thing at all times. We laughed together and we fought together. Do not get me wrong, we were being paid to do a job. We had to increase market share in a short period of time. The way we did it made the difference!

Two years ago, I left my former company, most of my team is still there and I hope that they have stuck to the core values ‚Äč‚Äčthat we represented.

I am now doing something that I truly love and have been given the right skills and the passion to make it happen. Funny thing is that I always saw myself doing what I am doing now. Helping organizations and people maximize their performance.

We come back full circle. Do organizations need to have vision? Does everyone in that organization need a vision of how they see the future? How do we know how we get there if we do not know where we want to be? The answers to these questions are a resounding "yes!"

Feel like you and / or your organization have lost the way? Go back and ask the question "Why?"