How to make friends with your shy why

When I came back from overseas in August, I was excited. To start on #somethingelse; another adventure that would add a bunch of skills to my growing toolkit. To share my journey with you, and with future me. To feel confident in sharing my why, what, and how.

As has been the underlying theme to my blogging, my plans haven’t turned up on my doorstep as arranged. I have been wading through life as it has been happening to me. I would like to say that this blog is a symbol of me taking charge, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a rough guide to becoming comfortable with a very shy ‘why’.

#1. Think about why you like travelling

I spent four months travelling this year. One month was spent in the mountains and coastlines of Te Waipounamu (the deep South). The rest was spent in Indonesia and Central America. Travelling is obviously an awesome thing to do. What wasn’t so obvious to me was my love for Aotearoa. I flew halfway across the world to incredible places, yet my highlight was dancing around in excitement to a view of Fiordland’s fiords.

#2. Jot down your thoughts - and come back to them

I was lucky enough to go on an eight day Outward Bound course in September. An enforced interlude of solitude in the bush gave me an opportunity to dump all my thoughts into a journal. I came back to those scrawls recently when a friend advised me to take some time out. It was a really good reminder of where I had intended to go compared to where I now find myself.

#3. Start a gratitude practice

Boring. Everyone knows this piece of advice. I did too, and always thought it sounded great-but-I-will-do-it-another-day. But I didn’t actually start my practice until a couple of months ago. I use this tool which works mostly because I am a self-confessed list fanatic. No matter where I might want my life/work to go, this practice reminds me that the present is pretty great in the meantime.

#4. Sharing is caring

I get ridiculously excited about personal development. I have read heaps of books and try weave it into the work I do. Recently, I decided to step it up. I’ve started a ‘personal development book club’. The name isn’t sexy, but we have a lot of fun. It gives me some great practice in facilitation and gives me a safe environment to get feedback from my friends. It has also been very effective in reassuring me that what I like in theory I also like IRL. 

#5. Get a coach

I would usually skip over a piece of advice that involves me spending money. Enter the benefits of living in a super connected world. I heard about The Coaching Fellowship from a friend, and decided to apply. The Fellowship offers six months of coaching to women leaders in the social impact space for a nominal fee. It was a classic example of me thinking I wouldn’t be accepted and doing it anyway (because I'm told that's what a male would do). I’ve only had a couple of sessions but getting out of my own head with someone who has all the right questions has been really valuable.

Final thoughts

My social media feeds are crammed with posts by people shouting their whys from the (online) hilltops. I think that’s cool, I do. But the fact is that my ‘why’ is still very much a work in progress. It’s shy and it takes different forms on different days. So I’m not shouting anything just yet, unless you count this as a reminder that it’s ok not to have your why sorted yet, either.

Anna Watson