There is something powerful in knowing your why. This is the reason you’re doing what you’re doing. Whether this is why you lead, why you married your high school sweetheart, or why you continue to serve in ministry.
Your why will help push you further and farther than you ever believed possible. Many people witnessed this at the recent 123rd running of the Boston Marathon thanks to Micah Herndon.
Micah served as a Marine in Afghanistan. He was lucky. He survived the brutal hell of war. Sadly, three of his friends did not.
Mark Juarez, Matthew Ballard, and Rupert Hamer all lost their lives in the war in Afghanistan. They didn’t return home alive. They passed in service to their country.
Micah ran the Boston Marathon in memory of these three fallen soldiers. He used their memory, his why, to keep going when he felt like giving up.
Micah Herndon’s Why
Micah knew his why. He wasn’t willing to stop until he crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He had to finish the run.
His why were his fallen comrades. Ballard, Juarez, Hamer… The last names of the people he fought next to. The reason for his running the marathon.
When he couldn’t run, he fell to his hands and knees. He began to crawl towards the finish line. He refused help and continued to push himself until he could say he completed the marathon.
Over and over again, Micah repeated his why. He would say the names of Ballard, Juarez, Hamer as he put one foot in front of the other. Their names, their memory pushed him through until the end.
In an interview with the Record-Courier, he said:
“I feel like if I am not running, then I am doing something wrong with my life, if I get a heat cramp while running or my feet hurt or I am getting exhausted, I just keep saying their names out loud to myself. They went through much worse, so I run for them and their families.”
His why powered him through one of the most challenging times in his life. He was able to look at his why and know he could go further.
Use Your Why
Micah’s why is inspiring. He ran for his fallen friends. For those he lost in Afghanistan. Your why will differ from Micah’s. The power you get from your why will not.
Your why is the reason behind everything you do. And you need to learn how to harness the power of your why.
You can follow Micah’s lead in using your why. Micah knew he had to keep his why front and center in his mind. To use your why to power you through your challenging times, do what Micah did:
1. Have a clear why:
Micah’s why wasn’t a vague idea floating in his head. Micah had a clear why for his run. He was running to honor the memory of his friends. He had their names written on his hand, his shoes, and his heart.
Do you know your why? You need to. Knowing your why will help you focus on the reason for your leadership, for your family, or for your relationships.
2. Keep your why front and center:
Yeah, many of us have a why. But once we’ve created our why, we let it slip into the background. Micah didn’t let his why slip from his mind. He kept his why front and center.
He used verbal recitation to remember why. He used markers on his hands to remember his why. And he created mementos to place on his shoelaces to remind him of his why.
You may want to create a vision board where your why is placed clearly in the center. You can regularly revisit the board and remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Or you might set a reminder on your phone to remind you every day of what you’re working for. Or you might set a screensaver of your why on your laptop.
These actions will help you remember your why and help you see it day in and day out. Never let go of your why.
3. Repeat your why:
Not only did Micah Herndon know his why and keep his why front and center, he constantly spoke his why. When he felt like he couldn’t move, he would repeat the names of his friends. He would speak and repeat his why.
His why was always on his lips. He spoke it constantly.
When’s the last time you spoke your why? Why is this? Speaking your why will allow you to hear why you’re leading and keep the reason in your mind.
Repeating your why can help you refocus and find the energy to keep going.