Video: Living a fully charged life- from the inside outOct 24, 2017
For the past few years I’ve written and talked a lot about the WHAT, the HOW, and the WHY (as well as the WHO and YOU).
The simple chart below helps me clarify the way in which we relate to each of these. Notice:
- WHAT is an idea that connects with your HEAD
- HOW is an implementation strategy (for the WHAT) that connects with your HANDS
- WHY is the inspiration… the reason you implement (how) your idea (what)… it connects with your HEART…
I know. The analogy isn’t foolproof. No simple formula ever is. However, it helps us clarify how we relate to our goals (regardless of whether those are faith goals, fitness goals, family goals, etc.), and it helps us see which areas are more important.
A “why” drives it all…
Over the past two years in particular, I’ve learned that the WHAT and the HOW are susceptible to radical change. And I do mean radical. What you're doing one day and how you're doing it can literally shift fairly fast.
A bit of my story...
Two years ago I walked away from full time work outside of our home, punching the clock at a nonprofit where I worked. I clocked at least 60 hours a week- on a slow week.
I loved what I did. We housed people coming off drugs, from the city’s streets (read: homeless), helped people leave addictions and walk into freedom… we helped rescue several victims of human trafficking.
I was able to teach radical grace of the Father, introduce people to the supernatural power of a the Holy Spirit, and show them how Jesus might live if He were walking the earth today…
Then I quit. I had the chance to step away from that grind and work from home, so I turned in a two month notice and resigned. It was an opportunity I never saw coming (and never thought I would take- I literally envisioned myself working in that ministry field for the rest of my life), but it was a transition I gladly took.
And I got depressed when I did.
Honestly, I spent a full year evaluating the externals-
- WHAT was I going to do every day…? I’d stopped working outside of the home to focus on our business that we ran from inside our home… but it was a hard transition for me to make… Some days I would leave the house, ride to the coffee shop and read... just so I could get out of the house for a few hours. It's almost like I had been conditioned by years of clocking in that I had to leave our physical home in order for the day to "count."
- HOW was I going to “add value” to our family every day? I’d reduced my contribution to LEAVING the house every week to WORK the grind for 60-plus hours… then to return with a meager check. (Don’t get me wrong… I’m grateful that I got paid… and thankful for the provision. I was doing something I would have done for free if I could have afforded to do it! But, we still found ourselves living paycheck-to-paycheck.)
Turns out, I was focusing on the wrong questions. You see, the right question rarely has to do with a WHAT or a HOW… The right question generally has more to do with WHY- the reason behind it all (in a previous post, I talked about what happens when you “lose your why,” and how that means you end up- hopefully, ONLY temporarily- replacing it with a HOW… something I fell into).
The WHY connects with the deepest part of you- so deep it’s not just information it’s actually REVELATION
Throughout my journey (reading in those coffee shops, figuring out who I was and what I was doing with my life) I learned about the limbic system, the seat of emotions and feelings inside of you.
Whereas the “outer brain” (the neocortex) is rich in logic and words, your limbic brain has no capacity for words. Well, technically, it can RECEIVE communication from words but it can’t SEND communication in words.
The limbic system has difficulty verbalizing and articulating what's going on inside of you, though...
- This is why it’s often difficult to communicate your deepest reasons for doing something. Especially when you just “feel” something and intuitively “know” deep in your gut that it’s what you should do.
- This is why you may feel like you’re not explaining yourself well when you try to discuss your “why” with someone.
- This is why outlining your dream supercharges you- yet you feel it “falls flat” when you try to describe it to a group of friends.
- This is why it's hard to explain a supernatural or emotional encounter you've had to others... and why you finally just exclaim, "I guess you just had to be there!"
The neocortex provides logic and reasoning (and even empowers you to create strategies and chart progress towards your goals) and is rich in words. The limbic brain, though… well… it’s not that it’s anti-logic; it’s just more than logic.
I created the graphic above after learning some of this (full disclosure: I ripped of part of it from Simon Synek's Start With Why, a book I read as I was trudging through that season of depression).
That circle represents your brain. Notice that the outer brain (neocortex) connects with the WHAT and the HOW. Again, it’s rational and logical… it loves words and charts and diagrams and plans.
The limbic brain, the deepest part of you… it thrives in the emotive world of feelings (Again, let me emphasize that this space is not anti-logic; it’s more than logic. I’ll explain more about why I believe that in a moment.)
Now, you might remember in previous posts that I’ve argued that the “why” take you higher- closer to your goals- than just the “how” or the “what.” I’ve actually suggested that you get higher and closer with each rung of this ladder that you ascend…
- Someone that knows WHAT they want to do is going to get farther than someone who’s stuck at ground level, still debating what it is they want to achieve…
- And someone who know HOW to implement that dream… how to take practical steps towards it… they will get closer than someone who simply stops and creating the idea.
(Surprisingly, a LOT of people actually generate ideas and create strategies yet NEVER implement anything, so it’s possible to get stuck on either of these rungs.)
The third rung is the WHY… notice that it takes you higher than either of the other two. That is, all things being equal, someone who really understands WHY they’re pursuing a dream or vision will outpace someone who doesn’t every single time.
Quite simply, the WHY takes you higher.
Remember the concentric circles above, though. The WHY doesn’t just take you higher, it also takes you DEEPER at the exact same time. It empowers us to reach “out” towards our goals AND to simultaneously reach “in” to who we are…
Here’s what it looks like if we flip the circles sideways…
I know. These are just clever graphics. They’re not “real life.” Yet, in some way they actually show us how life works.
Caution: going high is hard, digging deep is difficult
Before we move on, let me make a few observations about this:
First, going higher is hard. Ever scaled a 20-foot ladder and looked down? It’s a different experience looking from the ground up than it is looking from the air down, right? It’s almost like the distance doubles once the perspective changes…
That’s why a lot of people stay on the ground.
Second, going deeper is equally difficult. Ever really tunneled into who you are, probed the depth of your hurts, laid bare the secret things that shame you… things that (wrongly) identify you…?
Yeah, that’s why a lot of people stay on the surface…
This is part of the reason I “crashed” a few years ago when I stopped working outside of the home. I didn’t know my REASON for pushing through each day… I didn’t know my “WHY.”
I found myself trapped in the externals of clocking in and out of a ministry center...
When that was gone... well, even though I thought I would be happier, things kinda just fell apart.
And, rather than doing the hard work of climbing higher and digging deeper, I stayed on the surface. I found myself tinkering with dreams and processes rather than getting in touch with who I was created to be (and become).
By the way, it’s easier to maintain relationships on the bottom two levels, too. This is why we ask strangers, “What do you do?” when we first meet them. It’s a WHAT question, and it’s safe…
And it’s why we may ask acquaintances with whom we’re comfortable HOW to do something...
(We know they have expertise with automobiles, so we ask them to help us troubleshoot a strange engine noise… or we ask the tech-friend to explain how to install a new program on our computer… another can help us fire up the grill… or set up a website...)
Few of us dare approach our friends with the deepest question of WHY, though. We understand that the WHY is sacred… it’s high, and it’s deep.
And that’s exactly why wives often WANT their husbands to know- and share- their hearts, right? They want to go to higher and deeper levels of intimacy all at once…
Can’t copycat someone else’s WHY- and why it won’t work
There are a lot of copycats out there. It seems that whenever a celebrity sports a new haircut, a new fashion trend, or even speaks in a certain way, people of all walks of life start mimicking what they see.
My wife and I work in a home-based business. We’ve seen this copycat thing happen with some the top-tier leaders in the company. They live from who they are… and then others begin importing that leader’s traits and preferences into their own lives.
- They begin dressing like their "hero."
- They start using the same day planners, the same iPhone cases, and even carrying the same bags.
- They begin using the same catch-phrases in their speech- and on their social media platforms.
- They start vacationing at the same spots.
- They suddenly espouse the same political views, the same feelings about others… almost as if we’re- get this- back in junior high school :-)
Sure, some of this is to be expected. We learn from leaders. Especially when they’re in the same field or career path as us. We often learn from mimicking the way they do the things that make them successful.
But sometimes the look-alike, think-alike, act-alike goes a bit too far. Shoot, a LOT of times it goes too far.
Interestingly enough, you can’t copy someone else’s “why.” Since the “why” is so intrinsic to who we are, this just makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, people try to mimic other people’s WHY… but you can’t.
The first time I saw was actually in our home-based business. Ladies all throughout the South began impersonality a very predominant leader. Only it wasn’t an impersonation. It was legit. They wanted to be just like her. I mean, some of them wanted to actually BE her...
Now, I understand we want our business models to be duplicatable. Particularly when it’s a home-based business in which you’re training people from afar.
Here’s the deal: processes can be duplicatable. And should be.
People, however, are one of a kind. You can clone a process, but you can’t clone a person.
Remember the Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity? He needed help, so he decided to make copies of himself- like paper on a copy machine. The first clone was good… the second one was OK… by the fifth and sixth rendition the clones got weirder and weirder.
That’s honestly what happens when we begin “channeling” someone else instead of living from the depths of who we are….
When we copy them, we end up copying their WHAT most of the time… and even a bit of their HOW… We pick up on their most noticeable behaviors (usually the idiosyncracies) because there’s no way to replicate their experience and emotions.
That's why people picked up the slang expressions, the accents, and the catch-phrases of this leader. Those were the most noticeable parts of her... And, since she was an acquaintance at best, they didn't have access to her "why." I mean, she could shoot videos, make social media posts, and talk publicly about it... but there's only so far you can get without constant face-to-face interaction, right?
Yep. When we mimic someone else, we end up becoming a caricature of their most visible traits- and lose ourselves in the process.
- It’s why new preachers end up sounding oddly like the seasoned veterans they listen to.
- It’s why business builders in Young Living often sound like the people whom they follow on social media- even mimicking their hobbies, their wardrobe, their catch phrases, and their facial expressions!
When you copycat someone, it also shows your heart is misaligned with your true nature- that you haven't yet seen your own greatness. Remember, the drive of the heart is ALWAYS greater than the hands (HOW / implementation) and the head (WHAT / ideas).
The biggest reason you can’t mimic their WHY…
The biggest reason you can’t mimic someone else’s why, though, is this: the limbic system (the place where your WHY happens) is the seat of REVELATION. Here’s what I mean…
Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
I’ve heard pastors lead their congregations into building programs, fundraising efforts, or even outline their plans for the next calendar year and reference this verse as if God is telling us to “dream big dreams.”
They even say, “Without vision people just wander aimlessly.”
And- “That’s why we want to have a BIG vision! We serve a BIG God!”
The word "vision" here (in Hebrew, the language Solomon spoke) doesn’t mean a “what” or a “how," however. Even though what these pastors say is technically true about serving a BIG God with BIG vision, this is not something that Solomon is seeking to communicate to us in this verse.
You see, chabod, the word Solomon uses for “vision” is more closely aligned to prophecy- to hearing the voice of God. That is, to hearing your Father nudge you towards the greatness He’s put inside of you. Solomon says we can't exist without hearing the voice of God speaking from and to the depths of who we are.
That all happens in the limbic system, by the way. That’s right- down deep in the inner part of your brain. The place that defies logic and explanation.
Solomon is not saying that “we need big plans" (although planning can be amazing). Again, he’s arguing that, first, we need to hear the voice of God- a voice that hits the deepest part of us that is greater than mere words.
We see this idea throughout the Bible, that your Father actively speaks…
- “Surely, the Lord does nothing without revealing His secrets to His prophets” (Amos 3:7).
- “Shall I hide from Abraham what I’m about to do…?” (Genesis 18:17).
Jesus moved through life on earth by hearing the voice of God, connecting with His purpose (His WHY). He even said: “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He does” (John 5:19-20).
- The Father showed Him what He was doing (John 5:19).
- The Father did this because He loved Jesus (John 5:20).
That is, the Father revealed Himself to Jesus in the deepest parts of who He was because of their relational connection. He will show you, too because He also loves you…
As well, we probably won't find our destiny by looking at externals (particularly by looking at what others are doing, and how they are living their unique path). Your Father is looking to communicate your purpose, your “why,” to you.
In the hidden place.
Jesus actually told the Pharisees not to look for a sign (see Matthew 12:38f., 16:4).
It's not that signs can’t or don't confirm things- it just that God doesn’t prefer to send you a “signal.” He prefers to speak directly to you.
Unless you’ve heard Him audibly (which, I know- some people have), He’s defying words when He does. He’s speaking to your limbic brain, to a space bigger than words, a place where dreams arise. This is the reason we often use the phrase, “I feel…” when referring such encounters.
Elijah learned this. When God revealed Himself to him, Elijah saw that God wasn't in the externals- not the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire… but in a still, small voice (see 1 Kings 19:11-13).
Jesus tells us that we can also hear His voice- clearly (John 10:27). It’s revealing that the context of this verse is about Jesus telling us that He came as the antithesis of the Devil (who came to kill, steal, and destroy)- that we might have a life that overflows. It’s by hearing His voice that we tap into something that allows us- and empowers us- to really step towards our destiny (see John 10:10).
Don’t stop there- go seven levels deeper
About six months ago I heard about an exercise a few men did at a conference. I resonated with me, so we actually implemented it in the next edit of the Advance material.
Here’s how it works:
First, you identity the WHY for your dream. (Remember, you might have a different why for each of your dreams. If that’s the case, simply work through each of your dreams with this exercise, taking as much time as you need. I guarantee you… this one will help you go super-deep AND it will empower you to go incredibly high as a result.)
Then, go to another level… explain WHY that first “why” is important…
After that, do it again. This third time, write down with the second “why” matters….
And do it again- answer why that “why” is important…
Do it seven times... answering the WHY for each WHY for each WHY along the way...
The answers are . And that help you tap into what’s going on deep inside.
I worked through this exercise for a few of my dreams…
I decided I wanted to help Cristy crush the next levels of her network marketing business (a WHAT). Why do I want to do this? Because I want to be financially free. I mean REALLY financially free (net business income of $100,000-plus per month, and power 100 other people to earn $100,000-plus per year.
(Level 1 ^^^ = financial freedom)
Why do I want to be financially free? Because we were in ministry for years. We poured out our lives and lived paycheck to paycheck, meaning that we missed- and our kids missed- some of the opportunities we’d like to explore.
(Level 2 ^^^ = "not be strapped" like before = opportunities for the kids + family)
Why would we like to explore those opportunities? Well, we have more kids than average… and it will take more than average money to care for them in the future… to make sure they’re set up for school (and not go into excessive debt like we did), that we can travel and see parts of the world together, that we can learn and grow as a family…
(Level 3 ^^^ = they don’t step into the same potholes I stepped into, while still being able to do some of the great things I want to do with them)
Why does that matter? Because the debt and lack became a struggle… a noose… that defined jobs we took, places we lived, and what we were able to do. Money was a huge determining factor in many of our decisions. I don’t want them to be constrained and burdened like we were… Nor do I want that burden now, either.
(Level 4 ^^^ = freedom, no burdens, no potholes)
Now, you see how this continues going deeper and deeper with each level…
Here’s what I found…
At Level 7 the reason I wanted to reach the goal (remember, the goal is this: I just want to be successful at something amazing. The truth is that I have a lot of failures behind me…
- Failures in church.
- Failures in nonprofits.
- Failures in business.
I just want to look back at something and say, “I crushed it.” Or, in this case, “We crushed it.”
Gulp! Was that really was this was about? About being successful? About an external?
Was I- am I- that shallow?
That’s not a good enough reason, right?
I did some soul-searching and learned this: It's easy to cloak the truth in clever language sometimes. I mean you can even robe the truth in other truths that, to you, are lesser truths...
Being financially free and giving my kids opportunities sounds more palatable than just being successful...
So here's what I decided: I can’t let that mere success drive me. I’ve got to get honest with myself, deal with that “Level 7” issue in the heart, and find out what the real issue is… why is it that I want outward success? Why is that a driver...? And do I need healing from something?
Then- and only then- can I move forward towards those goals in total health. And when I move towards the goal in health… well, that revelation…
That’s a WHY that’s charged!
Maybe it's the same for you. Your fitness goal might just be so that you can "look good." OK. Super. What happens when you age...?
And is the marriage goal really about the relationship or just about the sex (an important part of the relationship for sure)?
See what I'm saying? Driving deep reveals a lot. And when we're honest about what's there, we can really move towards freedom...
You might also like:
When you confuse your heart with your hands, you lose your way: https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/losingwhy
A new nature means you naturally do the best things: https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/pulled
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