Discover Your “WHY” in Life

Do you know your “Why” in life? In April of 2009, a near-death experience helped me to discover my WHY in life. The Neuro-surgeon basically said he couldn’t explain how I survived the subarachnoid hemorrhage without suffering any type of brain damage, but I was very, very lucky. Be it luck or divine intervention, it certainly caused me to re-evaluate my life. 

“He who has a why can endure any how” ~ Frederick Nietzsche.  Your "why" motivates you, pushes you when you feel like giving up, helps you succeed when things look impossible and encourages you to go after your dreams. On the days that you feel like throwing in the towel, your why reminds you why you started on your journey and keeps you strong enough to continue moving forward. Your why may change throughout your life, but the questions you need to ask yourself in order to stay focused and overcome all the obstacles, remain about the same.

What is my definition of success?
We all have our own definition of success. Your definition is yours, no one else’s, so you don’t need anyone’s approval and acceptance. But you do need to know what your definition of success is to understand what your end goal is and why you’re working for it. If you define success as being able to pay the bills and that’s what motivates you, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Once you come up with your definition, dig a little deeper and ask yourself why that is your definition of success. The deeper you dig, the clearer your why becomes and the more motivated you will become to reach it.

What am I passionate about?
Ask yourself if you’re passionate about what you’re doing and, if not, what you are passionate about. What excites you? What gets you going and motivates you to keep going? Find your why and then pursue it with gusto.

You will find more personal and professional fulfillment at the place where natural talent and skill meets your personal passion. That is the place where you will find your motivation and be able to maintain it.

If money were no object, what would I do?
To some degree money is a driver for all of us. So, look at the job you’re doing every day and ask yourself if you’d still be doing it if money was no object. What would you do? Really think about what your dream circumstance would be. Pursue a career you love and look forward to giving your all so you can be your best.

So, how are you going to work toward that? How are you going to change your current circumstances (or use them as a vehicle) to reach that end goal of living a life of purpose and passion? It may not be something you can do overnight, but it can be the why that gets you up in the morning and motivates you to give your all now so you can have the future you dream of.

One of the biggest “whys” in my life is to be a positive role model for my kids.  It’s what I’m passionate about, and when I do see the positive choices they are making, I feel like I’ve succeeded. You won’t ever reach your goals unless you do plug into your why and reassess from time to time. A clear sense of purpose, enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most.

Shelly Aristizabal is the author of This Is Your Year to Design & Live the Life of Your Dreams, a leader in the Community Commerce Industry, Motivational Speaker and New President of Business Women Connect. Visit for details on our upcoming events in the Indianapolis area!


Practice Gratitude and Perfect Change in Your Life!

It’s common during this time of year to hear talk of gratitude and why it’s so important. Adopting a gratitude practice isn’t just something that sounds nice during the holiday season, it’s a lifestyle and mindset choice that will drastically change your life and your business. 

Here are three important reasons why you need to commit to an attitude of gratitude.

1. Gratitude shifts your mindset.
For something to change in your life, one of two things must happen: your life changes, or you do. Waiting for life to change is a passive solution. When you focus your energy on the problem, you miss out on all the opportunities for solutions that are knocking on your door every day, simply because you may not hear or see them.

Open your eyes to a practice in gratitude and all of a sudden things start to fall into place for you and for your business. Being an entrepreneur means being proactive, not passive, so simply switch your mindset and see life change.

How? Start by keeping a daily list of things that you are grateful for each night. Some call it a gratitude journal. But focusing on who came to your aid that day, what opportunities arose and how the day planted fruitful seeds for a better tomorrow will prove to you day after day that you are well taken care of and capable of succeeding with all the blessings that surround you.

2. Gratitude creates solutions.
Adopting a gratitude practice takes you out of the problem and toward a solution. It removes you from complaining mode and into a best-outcomes mindset. That’s a skill you need in your life and in your business decision-making. Entire companies and industries have been created from seeing solutions where others only saw obstacles. What will your contribution be?

How? Simply start by keeping a mental checklist of your triggers. We all have our things that set us off into complaining or annoyance. What are your complaint triggers during the day? Just observe them for a few days and keep a list as they pop up. Then try to set some time at the end of the week, 15 minutes should be enough, to look at those triggers and brainstorm solutions.

This can be part of your integrated gratitude practice. If you can see opportunity in the challenges you face, you will probably inspire many other people as well. Gratitude has a ripple effect that will impact the people around you.

3. Gratitude is contagious.
When you’re grateful you tend to exude and share that contagious positive energy. People enjoy that and will tend to be drawn to you. Our energy is contagious. We can do good things together and are better for having come together. Now that’s pretty much the only contagious thing happening in the world that we can get excited about.

How? Watch your words. What you say is usually how you act, so be aware of when you are complaining and replace whines with positive words. Start with you, and watch as the world changes around you. 

It takes about 21 days to make (or break) a habit. Challenge yourself and the people around you to commit to a daily practice of gratitude. Make a daily list of 3 to 5 things you are grateful for and WHY you are grateful for them. Then actually, BE the change you wish to see in the world!

Shelly Aristizabal is the author of This Is Your Year to Design & Live the Life of Your Dreams, a leader in the Community Commerce Industry, Motivational Speaker and New President of Business Women Connect. Visit for details on our upcoming events in the Indianapolis area!