How to Find Your Why

Blog how to find your why by david charlton

Sports Psychology Tips: How to Find Your Why

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My WHY is crystal clear

I’m pretty sure you’ll have often heard that to get the most from your talents as an athlete or coach that you need to know your WHY. 

It is argued by knowing your WHY that it will propel you into taking action and help to make you relentless. 

Is this true?

In short, there is an argument to say the answer is “Yes”.

When you are clear with why you do what you do.  Why you get up on a morning.  Why you practice the way you practice.  Why you set up coaching drills the way you do.  Why you act the way you act when you or your team competes.  Why you want glory.  You will be better equipped to put in place plans and strategies to achieve your goals and ambitions. 

You’ll start asking yourself and others how you will get there.

Your WHY is the purpose behind what you do.  You may have heard a saying, “When there is a will, there will be a way.”  When you’ve taken the time to consider your why, you will act and do whatever it takes to get what you want.  You will relentlessly pursue it.

Why do I need to know my why?

Imagine if I put a 1 metre wide and 20 metre long plank of wood on the ground and I ask you to walk on it and tell you if you get to the end without touching the floor that I’ll give you £1000, will you do it?

Yes, of course, you will, it’s easy for most people, right!

Now, let’s consider if we set this plank up between 2 high rise flats with a considerable drop below, would you cross it for a £10,000?

Many people will say no.  Why, because the risk far outweighs the benefits. If you fall there’s a good chance you will die.

Though, if a loved one was on the opposite building and needed rescuing from a fire, a lot more people would walk or run across the plank to save them.  Would you?

I’ll guess that you’re thinking yes I would regardless of whether there is £10,000 waiting for me at the other end.  

Why is that? Why would you not when there was no loved one in danger at the other end? What has changed? 

Your WHY has changes, right? 

In scenario one, the plank is placed between the two buildings and you’re afraid if you cross it you may die.  Your focus is on the “risk”.

However, in scenario two, the exact same risk is applicable, however your focus has changed as you choose to walk or run to save your loved one.  Not only that your WHY has changed too.

We all do what we do because of our purpose and our WHY.

You’ll fail this coming year, if you don’t know your WHY.

This is a rather bold statement, however my reasoning is because there is more likelihood that you will:

  • Repeat past mistakes.
  • Procrastinate.
  • Set inappropriate goals.
  • Become distracted.

If you don’t have a strong and powerful reason for doing what you do.  

To be a successful athlete or coach, buzz words that stand out to me are; relentless, committed, hardworking, persistent, grit, resilient, mental toughness, mental strength, dedicated, driven, determined, energetic… and so on.

Knowing your WHY will give you many strong reasons for you to keep going despite the inevitable difficulties, mistakes and setbacks that occur in sport.  

If you know your WHY your expectations are more likely to be realistic, you’ll recognise that the road from A to B is not short and straight that it is more likely to be like a long winding road, up and down hills and bends.

So how do I find my WHY I hear you ask?

Start by asking yourself the following 9 statements and questions:

  1. My vision for the person I want to become is…
  2. The purpose for my life is…
  3. The purpose I play or coach … is
  4. What excites me and gets me up in a morning?
  5. What am I passionate about?
  6. I will not stand for…  in my life.
  7. What do I stand for?
  8. What roles do I play in my life and sport?
  9. What roles am I enjoying playing in my life and sport?

Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions I’m in no doubt that you will be more clear about your WHY.  However, if you’re in need of more advice why not listen to my latest podcast where I discuss it from a different angle to aid your motivation and knowledge.

If you’d like to sign up for further tips and advice to help you succeed, please consider subscribing to the Mental Edge.

You can also join our online community – THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY HUB – for regular Sports Psychology tips, podcasts, motivation and support.

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Sports Psychologist who supports athletes in all corners of the globe from San Francisco to Dubai, to Cape Town to Brisbane, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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