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Episode 013: Understand Your Personal “Why” Within Permaculture Movement with Robin Suggs

personal development Dec 03, 2019


Exploring the WHY and Its Significance in Creating a More Intentional Life


This week on the Seeds of Tao Podcast we’re interviewing Robin Suggs about his permaculture journey and discussing the magic ingredient to success and impact - your WHY. Robin is an excellent example of a permaculture “convert” having come from a background of ornamental horticulture, and gradually being introduced to ways he could work WITH the environment, rather than against it to create beautiful, flourishing landscapes. But today in the blog post we’re specifically going to be handling the WHY statement that is so important and integral to confident, forward motion towards your wildest dreams.

What is the WHY?


The WHY has been a hot topic as of late at Seeds of Tao. Whether in our FREE Dreamcatcher Mini-Course or with our personal mentoring clients, we’ve been helping permies uncover their WHY in order to give them greater clarity and focus moving forward. So what exactly is this magical WHY?


Thanks for asking! Here are the details…


Your WHY is your purpose, your mission, your inspiration, your ultimate potential, your anchor to your truth, your greatest strength, your biggest weakness, and the indicator of your personal value.


Pretty important, right?


Basically it’s a statement we use to ground us, keep up focused, and moving forward in a way that develops the best parts of ourselves.


(and you apply it to EVERYTHING in your life, not just the garden)

Strengths in the WHY


In the WHY statement we include two major aspects, the CONTRIBUTION and the IMPACT. I won’t get into how to create those, that’s included in the FREE Dreamcatcher Mini-Course, but for right now it’s just important to know what these two big parts of the WHY statement are what we’re going to pull apart to gain further insight into your strengths.


The two big pieces of the WHY statement are your CONTRIBUTION and your IMPACT. These two pieces are, quite simply, your greatest strengths - whether you currently feel like they are or not.


I can’t tell you how many mentoring clients I’ve had that have shied away from these two factors being their strengths, but once they realized and embraced them as strengths, they became UNSTOPPABLE. 


Here’s an example. My two factors are being an ENHANCER and a CATALYST for change. So I have found myself to absolutely thrive in opportunities to help or those around me “level up” and enhance themselves. In fact, that’s the big draw to permaculture for me personally, the opportunity to enhance the landscape around me. And mentoring is the same way. As for the catalyst aspect, I can be very motivational, and help people to see things differently, and in a sense “light a fire” in people. I also LOVE opportunities for change and adventure, my soul flourishes in these types of situations.

Weaknesses in the WHY

Just like we find our greatest strengths in our WHY, we also find our greatest weaknesses.


The same two factors give insight to our weaknesses. It’s kind of like Star Wars, there’s a Light Side and Dark Side of the Force. Where we are not fully living our strengths, they become opportunities for our greatest weaknesses, OR where we are not applying our strengths to OURSELVES, we handicap the growth of our strengths and they turn into weaknesses.


Let me explain.


I have quite a few personal mentoring clients that have HEALING as on of their big strengths. In fact many permies are healers, and their draw to permaculture is to heal the land.


What’s the downside or “dark side” of a healer? Martyr syndrome. And to be honest, that’s why many healer personalities stay unhealthy, unhappy, and out of balance. They don’t heal THEMSELVES first. Then they are unable to heal those around them, which is contrary to their authentic self so there becomes a disconnect, and frustration occurs.


If we do not apply our greatest strengths to ourselves and our cup is constantly empty, we cannot fill the cups of those around us. And in fact, we will turn into that angry person with an empty cup who crumples it and throws it at people.


This can be a scary thing to uncover, but it is absolutely one of the most impactful parts of this process in uncovering your WHY. 


Most of the time people can’t really see what is holding them back from reaching their dreams. It seems like some vague, foggy nothingness and they can’t seem to make progress forward through the mist. They fill themselves with projects around the homestead and check the boxes, but are still left not really moving forward.


Once we identify these weaknesses, we have a guide to uncover the obstacles that are holding us back from our forward progress and greater potential. And to be honest, most people only have about two or three real obstacles they need to overcome in order to seriously level up in their life, and that process becomes so much easier once we can identify what those obstacles are.


Purpose in the WHY


Once we have our awesome WHY statement clearly written out, and we can say it out loud, we can find an amazing level of the purpose behind why we’re here and what we want to do in this life.


Those two aspects of the WHY give us the purpose that ignites our souls and makes us hungry to start being the change we wish to see in the world. 


Oftentimes we find ourselves trying to move a number of projects or goals forward on our property or in our life, but that doesn’t mean those things are resonating with our purpose. When we examine our WHY and create the goals from the WHY, we are simply extending our purpose to steps in order to fulfill that purpose. Therefore when we accomplish those goals, complete those projects, or take those steps, we are inherently more fulfilled than we otherwise would have been. 


It is amazing to see the change permies have when going from a life where they feel stuck in the status quo, trying to fill the expectations of those around them even if they are valid, to a life of focused progression to fulfill their personal mission or purpose. They become new people entirely. 


If you find yourself in this “rut” or scatterbrained state full of project and goals but no significant personal growth, this is what you’re lacking. 

Value in the WHY


This is the cherry on top of uncovering your WHY - finding out what your personal value is linked to.


One of my personal mentoring clients thrives on connection. It’s the CONTRIBUTION aspect of his WHY statement. Because of this, when he feels a disconnection with himself, his spouse, or those around him, it hits at his value structure. He will feel LESS THAN because of how connected he feels with those around him. So this is something he has to be aware of. 


These types of people you that thrive on connection are often in your local permaculture groups, always finding ways to gather the community to further the permaculture cause.


Likewise for me, being an enhancer, when I feel stuck, unable to “level up” or like I can’t help someone else do so, that’s a hit to my personal value.  It seems totally illogical but it is tried and true. Our WHY statement is directly linked to our perceived personal value.


Why is this important?


If we are having a crappy day and feel less than awesome, we can retrace our steps to find out which part of our WHY statement was hit, and see the connection. With that information, we know exactly where we need to go to reinforce our mindset.


For example, remember how I need to feel forward progression, and like I am genuinely helping others move forward? So if I have a bad day and I feel stuck in a rut, like things aren’t moving forward and possibly even moving backward, my personal value will be knocked down in the gutter. But because I can identify that stagnancy is where this hit to my value came from, I can go to my PRE-DETERMINED reinforcement techniques. For me, that includes things like re-visiting the binder have I where I store everything I’ve accomplished from my vision board or psyching myself up for a goal I’m excited about.


See where I’m getting?


This epiphany of the WHY statement is so insightful and helps you to truly create an impervious mindset to whatever life will throw at you. And let’s face it, as permies we aren’t exactly going with the grain of society so there’s bound to be adversity there.

Wrapping up the WHY


In this episode, Robin said, “We have to be true to ourselves and understand WHY we do what we do.” Uncovering your WHY statement will do exactly that. I hope you weren’t overwhelmed by this in-depth study of the WHY statement, but rather excited to uncover or dive deeper into yours!


If you’re ready to start putting your amazing WHY statement together, head over to our FREE Dreamcatcher Mini-Course and jump into Module 1, where we take you through the exercises necessary to uncovering that amazing WHY of yours.

Happy WHY-finding!


Keep Growing!


Previous Episode: Dana Wilson's Amazing Permaculture Journey Through Media and Film