Welcome to the latest installment of our journey into the heart of business strategy. In this edition, we explore a tool that’s as simple as it is profound: the art of asking a question seven levels deep. This technique is more than just an exercise in curiosity—it’s a method to uncover the bedrock motivation behind your business goals and decisions.

Unveiling the Core: The First Question

Imagine your primary business goal is to increase your revenue by 20% this year. Ask yourself, “Why is this 20% increase important?” Your first answer might be about financial security or growth. That’s your first level.

The Subsequent Layers: Questions Two Through Six

But why is financial security important to you? Perhaps it’s to provide stability for your team. And why is that stability crucial? Digging deeper, it could be about creating a legacy. Each subsequent “why” peels back a layer, delving into more profound reasons and often, personal values.

The Seventh Level: The Heart of Your Why 

By the time you reach the seventh question, you’re at the core of your intent. It might reveal a desire to impact your community or change lives—including your own. This foundational ‘why’ is your true driving force, the emotional anchor that will keep you steadfast during challenges.

The Transformative Effect

Understanding your seventh-level ‘why’ can radically change how you approach your business. Decisions become clearer, your resolve becomes firmer, and your ability to communicate and inspire your team reaches new heights.

Remain Completely Honest With Yourself

Embarking on the journey of self-inquiry, especially when asking, “Why is this important to you?” requires an unwavering commitment to honesty. This is not the realm for surface-level answers or responses crafted to satisfy what we think others want to hear. It is a space where candor is not just valued but essential.

Staying honest with yourself means peeling back the layers of pretense and confronting the truths that may be uncomfortable or even painful. It involves recognizing and acknowledging fears, insecurities, and the dreams we keep closest to our hearts. It’s about being transparent with your motivations, even when they don’t align with conventional expectations or the perceived norms of success.

This authenticity in answering ‘why’ is vital because it ensures that the goals we pursue are genuinely ours. They are not imposed by external pressures or born from a need to prove something to others, but rather they emanate from the core of our true selves. When we are honest in our self-reflection, we not only discover what truly drives us but also empower ourselves to pursue our goals with integrity and passion.

Moreover, honesty in this process paves the way for genuine personal growth. It allows us to identify areas where we may have held back due to fear of failure or judgment and encourages us to face them with courage. This level of self-honesty is the bedrock upon which resilience is built. When we are true to ourselves in our aspirations, we find an alignment that propels us forward, undeterred by the inevitable challenges and setbacks.

In essence, when we stay honest with ourselves, we unlock the potential to live and work in a way that is deeply fulfilling. We set goals that resonate with our values and visions, and this alignment becomes the source of an inexhaustible drive toward accomplishment. So, as you delve into each ‘why,’ let honesty be your guide, and watch as the path to your true aspirations becomes clear.

Let’s try a similar example with slightly different replies:

  1. First Level Question: Why is increasing revenue by 20% this year important? Answer: It signifies the company’s growth and stability.
  2. Second Level Question: Why is the company’s growth and stability important to you? Answer: Because it reassures me that we are on the right track to becoming a market leader.
  3. Third Level Question: Why is becoming a market leader important? Answer: Market leadership means recognition of our team’s hard work and the value we provide.
  4. Fourth Level Question: Why is recognition of your team’s hard work and value important? Answer: It validates our efforts and reinforces that what we’re doing is making an impact.
  5. Fifth Level Question: Why is validating your efforts and making an impact important? Answer: Impact and validation lead to a sense of accomplishment and success.
  6. Sixth Level Question: Why are accomplishment and success important to you? Answer: They provide a tangible measure that I’ve achieved something significant, something that has long-term meaning beyond daily operations.
  7. Seventh Level Question: Why is achieving something significant and long-term meaningful to you? Answer: Growing up, I always felt I was never good enough in the eyes of my father. Achieving a significant, lasting impact through my business is a way to prove to myself that I am capable and worthy of success.

Wow, now we are getting somewhere. See how the final response seems to be rooted in something deep from the past of the respondent? This is what we are looking for.

By the seventh level, the process reveals a deeply personal driver: the desire to overcome a lifelong feeling of inadequacy and to prove one’s worth, both to oneself and perhaps symbolically to one’s father. This profound personal motivator can be a powerful force, propelling the goal of increasing revenue from being a mere number on a spreadsheet to a milestone of personal validation and achievement.

Again, as you read this newsletter, remember that you are here to take yourself through these passages and use this to implement for yourself in your business so you can achieve more and so you can attain your dreams.

Applying the 7 Levels Deep in Practice

Implementing this technique in your business planning sessions or team meetings can lead to astonishing revelations. It fosters a culture of introspection and purpose, aligning your team’s efforts with the most fundamental goals of your organization.

Beyond Business: A Personal Impact

While we focus on business, the 7 Levels Deep method isn’t confined to it. Applying it to personal aspirations can yield equally transformative insights, aligning your career path with your deepest values.

Always 7 Questions?

The ‘7 Levels Deep’ exercise is rooted in the principle that seven iterations of asking ‘why’ typically suffice to reach the core personal driver behind a goal. However, human motivation is complex, and sometimes seven questions may not fully uncover the deepest layers of one’s psyche. In certain instances, it might be necessary to delve further, asking eight, nine, or even more questions to truly reach the heart of the matter.

The number seven is not a rigid limit but rather a guideline. It’s about the depth of inquiry rather than the count. The key is to continue probing until you reach an answer that resonates on a deeply emotional level—an answer that sparks a visceral response and feels like a fundamental truth.

Some may find their profound ‘why’ at the fifth question, while others may need to go beyond the seventh to unravel layers of rationale that have built up over years of experience and conditioning. The goal is not to adhere strictly to a number but to continue peeling back the layers until you reveal a driving force that is compelling enough to sustain motivation through the challenges and obstacles that invariably arise in the pursuit of any meaningful goal.

In essence, the process is less about the quantity of questions and more about the quality of introspection. It’s a journey inward, with each question acting as a step closer to the core of why we set out to achieve what we do in life and in business. Whether it takes seven questions or several more, the ultimate aim is to discover the powerful, motivating driver that fuels our dedication and commitment to our goals. 

Unwavering tenacity

The power of asking ‘why’ seven times is a journey to the heart of what matters most. It’s a process that unveils not just goals, but the passions and purposes that give those goals life. As we continue to explore the facets of successful business strategies, keep the 7 Levels Deep method in your arsenal. It’s a simple yet powerful way to ensure that your business moves forward with purpose, clarity, and a deep-seated drive that resonates with every step you take towards success.

The ‘7 Levels Deep’ exercise is a transformative process that wields the power to clarify one’s true motivations and bolster resilience in the pursuit of goals. This introspective journey is crucial because it anchors our endeavors to a deeply personal ‘why’—a compelling reason that transcends the superficiality of external rewards or recognition.

When we unearth the root of why achieving our desired results is so important, we arm ourselves against the barrage of internal as well as external negativity and doubt that can often derail our efforts. This core motivation acts as a bulwark, fortifying our resolve against the skepticism, sometimes even from those closest to us—friends, spouses, and family—who may not share the vision of our dreams and aspirations. Their lack of belief, while disheartening, becomes irrelevant in the face of our innermost convictions allowing us to remain steadfast and unmoved. It is our internal compass, ensuring we stay the course even when the path becomes obscured by challenges or setbacks.

This self-discovery fosters resilience, transmuting the concept into an indomitable force within us. It fuels a fire within that external conditions cannot extinguish. It redefines perseverance, transforming it from a struggle to a steadfast march towards our goals. Our personal ‘why’ infuses these traits with an invincibility that external circumstances, no matter how adverse, cannot diminish. Adversity thus morphs from a deterrent into an impetus for growth, and skepticism from others merely fuels our journey, rather than hinders it.

Challenges become waypoints on the journey, not roadblocks. Adversity turns into a catalyst for growth rather than a cause for retreat. This profound realization—that our drive is powered by something uniquely meaningful to us—grants us an unwavering tenacity. It fosters a type of perseverance that is not easily found but is cultivated through the understanding of our deepest whys.

The significance of this exercise extends far beyond its ability to clarify our intentions—it shapes our reaction to the entire spectrum of experiences we encounter along the way. It instills a perspective where challenges are seen as necessary milestones, and the doubts of others merely reinforce our commitment to the path we’ve chosen. With our ‘why’ etched firmly in the bedrock of our being, resilience and perseverance emerge not as choices but as intrinsic responses to any obstacles we face.

In essence, this journey inward to discover our ‘why’ unleashes a wellspring of motivation that is relentless. It imbues us with the strength to persist, regardless of wavering beliefs from those around us. Understanding our deepest motivations turns resilience into our nature and perseverance into our legacy, as we navigate toward the fulfillment of our dreams.

Stay tuned for our next edition, where we’ll continue to unlock the secrets of business acumen that propel us from mere success to significance.

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