In 2017, I read a book “Start with Why”. The premise of the book is that we need to have our values and beliefs drive our actions. Our values/beliefs is the “Why”, and our actions are the “How” and “What”? The author of the book argues many companies and products fail, because they have a good grasp of their “what” and “how”, but they do not understand their why. If the people in the company understood their “Why”, they would be able to reach more people and less of their launches or businesses would fail.

Interestingly, after I read this book, I found myself in a new job. I found myself increasingly frustrated in my role, and shortly began looking for other things. Shortly after my job search, I did happen to find something new, and one of the emphasis in this new opportunity is- know the “why” behind what we do and our processes. We were required to watch a TED talk and our “why” is what drives us. I can honestly say my job satisfaction is greater, and I love what I do! I believe my job satisfaction is directly correlated with the organizations emphasis on focusing on “Why”!

With my renewed focus of “Why” in my workplace, it has helped me contemplate the “Why” in my other aspects of life. I began to think, “Why do I run?” The “Why” we run is the motivator. If we do not have a clearly established “Why”, running may become chore, and eventually, you may lose passion, and stop running all together. I have spoken with many people who find out I’m a runner- and they will tell me their story “one time I ran a marathon, but I don’t run much anymore” or “I use to be a runner, but then I had a hamstring injury and I haven’t ran since, it’s been years…maybe I should start again.” or “I ran in high school, but haven’t ran since”. This life is filled with people who once were runners, or ran a race that one time. It seems the people who stick with running have one thing in common. They understand “why” they run. “Why” they get up early in the morning in freezing temps to log in the miles. They have the intrinsic motivation to run, compete a goal distance or PR, and then to keep going! They are the ones who hit a certain age, and may not be able to run as they were able to in their 20s or 30s, but they keep logging the miles. These are the running warriors.

Different people run for different reasons (different “Why’s”) I run because I love running. I love the fact that I can push my body to the limit, and see what it can do. I love the feeling of euphoria after a great workout. Others run to lose weight, to chase a PR, or to get out in nature. Whatever your “Why” is, define it, and use it to motivate you.

Different seasons in life could bring a different “Why” you run. I knew a guy in middle school who joined the school cross country team because of a girl on the team. He is now in his 30s and still running, even though the crush from middle school is a distant memory. His “Why” evolved from crushing on a girl to an intrinsic “I love running!” Younger runners may run for the competition- to beat the guy lining up beside them. As the runner age, he may shift his why from enjoying the competition to just enjoying the moment. Some runners start running in order to lose weight- this is a “Why” that usually doesn’t keep a person stomping on the pavement. However, a few of these that started to lose weight, find something deeper, and continue long after they hit their weight goals- or they forget about them all together, since they found that just being in nature was motivation enough. The “Why” can shift, but never lose sight of your “Why”.

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