Every year, around this time, I take time to ask ‘why?’.

This weekend is the beginning of summer holidays for many.  In my life, it’s beginning of at least four weeks of relatively quiet time without a lot of travel and professional commitments.  So, I take some of this time for annual, much-needed, strategic thinking.

This year will be a little different for me. You see, this year I finally hired my first professional coach.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do it years ago. Heather has been great for me. Not always easy and not always comfortable, but she has forced me to look beyond my two-page to-do list and to focus on the 3-5 year plan.

She is constantly asking me why? If I can defend my actions and show that next event or book or keynote speech or workshop fits into the plan, then we get to work on it together (and she is really good at doing this).  But if my answer is somewhere along the lines of ‘because it’s fun’ or ‘someone has to do it‘ or simply ‘because it’s there’- then it doesn’t get through.    

I am guilty of trying to do too many things at once. I’m guilty of letting the entrepreneurial spirit get the best of me and of constantly thinking of new things to do, new products to create or new services to develop.  Coach Heather has immediately jumped on this major weakness of mine and forced me to focus.

Many of us out there, and many organizations as well, should be asking the same question and this is a great time to do it.

Why are you doing what you are doing?  How does it fit into the big picture? Or what is the big picture? What is the long-term goal or plan?  If you have your eye on a senior position in your organization that could be attainable within the next few years, what are you doing to get there? 

As an organization, why are you doing what you are doing?  Does all of this project work fit into the strategic plan?  Many organizations are guilty of allowing those ‘torpedo projects’ to sneak into the schedule.  Why do we let these projects get through?  They weren’t part of the overall portfolio plan at the beginning of the year so why were they allowed to get through now?

If you are a professional like me or an organization of any size, this is the time of the year when many of us should be asking why?

If I were your coach, could you defend your answer?

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