Who > What > Why > How

What’s the formula for achievement?

Where should we put our focus to achieve our goals?

Interestingly, most people focus on how and what, usually in that order.

At the very least they are increasing the time it takes for them to get what they want.

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The most important, and first, thing to focus on is who you must be to achieve your goals. This is both challenging and easy.

Easy in the sense that you already know, if you’re honest with yourself, what you need to stop doing and start doing to move towards your goals. Mostly it’s the crap you keep doing that makes you feel bad and reinforces what you don’t want, or, what you’re tolerating.

Challenging in that you’ll need to do some self-examination and introspection, combined with an understanding of what you want, to discern the traits and qualities you’ll need to cultivate to create the life you want.


Quite simply, you must know exactly what you want. To the degree you are unclear, you will delay its creation, possibly indefinitely.

You must be able to clearly and easily explain what you’re goals such that you’ll know what to do to move towards it and know exactly when you’ve achieved them.

Confusion and vagueness will keep you stuck – get crystal clear on what you want.

(And be willing to revisit and revise the what periodically; you are going to learn and grow along the way. Updating your goals, either in detail or in whole, is the mark of a wise person (as long as you’re not “giving up” in any way)


In a way, “WHY” is part of “WHAT.” But it’s so important that it needs it’s own section.

Unless you are absolute sure of – and energized by – your Why, you will not achieve your goal (at least not fully).

When you are so absolute clear on why you’re doing something you will do whatever it takes. You will persevere when others give up. You will create more and better when others settle for “enough.” And – and this may just be the most important bit – you will enjoy and appreciate your results in a way that others will never know.

(For more on the importance of Why, read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why.)


The final, and in a sense, least important part, at least in the beginning, is How.

The process and content of actually doing the work will take care of itself, once you know:

1) who you must be to achieve your goal;

2) what you seek to achieve and

3) why you want to achieve the goal (more than you want ease/safety/the-known).

The How is a question that takes care of its self along the way – iteratively.

When we’re in authentic action, and we allow our inherent genius to shine, we find the answers we need along the way. How is not a question to be asked, answered in long form and then slavishly adhered to, but a question to asked in each moment and regularly in some detail.

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Who must you be to move forward in life?

What do you (truly/deeply/authentically) want?

Why do you want to achieve your goal? (What will your goal allow to be/do/experience in its achievement?)

What’s the first, tiniest, smallest, most manageable step you can take towards your goal?

Do that, and just keep repeating that question.

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