Have you ever done something really awful and asked yourself ‘Why?’
Have you ever been asked ‘Why did you do that?’ and felt attacked by the question, making it difficult for you to answer?
I was part of the ‘why tribe’. Awake at 3am, asking myself, why I’d messed up in a meeting? Why I had, or hadn’t said something? Beating myself up and getting nowhere with answering the question, other than further down a rabbit hole…which at 3am, is a very dark space.
Asking yourself ‘why’, can force you on an emotional rollercoaster, as you can come up with a million subjective answers.
Asking someone else ‘why’, can feel like a personal attack or criticism; putting them on the defensive.
So how can we do things differently?
Slow your brain, take a mental step back and ask ‘What’ happened?
Keep to the facts! We learn best when we feel safe.
Think about who said, or did ‘what’. ‘What’ was said; who was there, etc?
Once you’ve gathered the facts, ask, ‘How’ you could have done things differently? Not better, because this too is subjective. Better in whose eyes.
Once we have answered ‘What and How’, we may even be capable of answering, ‘Why’.
New behaviours, which lead to a positive result, are learned quickly by the brain, so the next time you are in a similar situation, you will know what you should do differently to achieve a different result.
Helen Martin has an MSc in Coaching and Behavioural change and focuses on developing self-awareness and reflection with her clients.