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KEY 006: The Difference Between a Clean Why and a Dirty Why

What This Episode is About

We take a look at why it’s critical for high achievers to have a strong “why” and the distinction between a “clean why” and a “dirty why.” 

You Must Get To Your Ultimate Why

Your “why” is your reason, your motivation, the thing that gets you up in the morning and keeps you going until the work is done.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know their real or ultimate why. We all seem to stop half way there, with something we refer to as your “intermediate why.” If someone tells me they’re why is to buy a boat and sail around the world, I know they haven’t really tapped into their ultimate why.

Your ultimate why will always create a deep “feeling state.” It must shift something within you on a deep emotional level.  Sailing around the world is great, but WHY do you want to sail around the world? What will that give you on an EMOTIONAL level?

Keep driving deeper into the emotional reason why you want something and you’ll eventually get to your ultimate why.  

Your Ultimate Why Could Be a Dirty Why

There are clean whys, dirty whys, and what most of us have, a murky why. It’s not really purely clean and certainly not dirty.

If you don't have your WHY, the HOWS will kick your ass!

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The difference between a clean why and a dirty why is based on your motive for your why. If you’re motivated to make someone else proud of you, that’s a dirty why. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with wanting someone in your life to be proud of you, but that shouldn’t be your ultimate why.

John mentions 3 key metrics to determine if you have a clean why.

  • Does it align with your passion?
  • Is it based in humility?
  • Does it fill you with gratefulness?

It is possible to achieve great levels of financial or material success with a dirty why, but it will never leave you feel peaceful and satisfied. This is the reason so many people chase their dreams and end up unfulfilled. They chased after a “dirty why.”

Ready to Discovery Your Ultimate Why?

John and Paul take a deep dive into finding your why and making sure it’s going to drive you to true fulfillment as well as the other rewards you may be seeking. Material or external success and internal success aren’t mutually exclusive. If you pursue the internal, the external rewards will show up.  

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What is The Key?

The KEY to better relationships, improved finances, and achieving peak performance isn't somewhere "out there" in another book, seminar, or training program, it already exists within you. You don't have to go find it, you just have to unlock it... and that's what show you how to do on The Key Podcast.

Paul desmond adams

Personal development coach

purpose | goals | career | relationships | Wellness

Paul is a super high achiever trapped in a misfits body. He's dreamed of and worked towards the highest levels of success, but held back by disorganization, distraction, and procrastination. He's always known what to do but hasn't been able to do what he knows... and it wasn't his fault. 

John hawkins jr, M.S., L.M.H.C.


peak performance strategist

John is a licensed psychotherapist who has helped thousands of people deal with past trauma, addiction, and broken relationships. After years of helping people breakthrough their internal blocks to success, he now realizes most us KNOW what to do, we just don't DO what we know... and it's typically not our fault. 

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Don't Miss The Next Key

Subscribe and unlock the science of peak performance in business & life.

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