Why Not Me? Inspiration for Professional Growth in 2023 

In the 2022 US Men’s Open, American tennis phenomenon, Frances Tiafoe displayed skill, agility, strength, and perseverance. Tiafoe showed tennis talent as a teen and his pure concentration and determination were on full display at the US Open.  

In the semifinals, Tiafoe lost to Carlos Alcaraz in a five-set, hard-fought match lasting more than four hours. Alcaraz won the US Open in the finals.  

After the semifinal match, Tiafoe said, “I will return.” If you happened to see the interview, you knew he meant it.  

What I found significant and inspirational was the bracelet he wore. It said, “Why Not Me?”  

Human beings are built to be goal-seeking individuals. Our brains naturally seek new heights and new challenges. As we look to 2023 with a plethora of hopes and dreams, can you add those words to your mantra, “Why not me?” If these words become your mindset, they will create momentum in your upward climb to where you want to be.

We know, however, that just mindset is not enough to reach goals. The process of momentum happens when you combine mindset and process , and then track your progress toward your goals.   


The Why Not Me Reset 

The Why Not Me Reset in your personal and professional life takes the steps outlined below: 

1. Evaluate 2022.  

 Critical steps to create momentum and progress start with looking in the rearview mirror at 2022. In the rearview mirror, look for successes but more importantly, search for disappointments, and frustrations. Notice I didn’t use the word failure because all events have an element of learning. The purpose of looking in the rearview mirror at 2022 is to see what you learned.  

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company in 1901, is attributed with this statement: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Ask yourself these questions: “What did I learn from my frustrations in 2022?” “How can I begin again more intelligently?”  

2. Begin More Intelligently 

With the information you gained by evaluating 2022’s successes and frustrations, start the goal-setting process – more intelligently.  

After examining your accomplishments and disappointments in 2022, determine where you want to go in 2023. What achievement is on your radar? Is it a promotion? Is it a new skill? Is it increased self-mastery?  

Once the goal is determined, examine the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. What skills or learning do you need to take you to the next level?  

It is helpful here to identify a role model and observe her skillsets, then determine what emotional intelligence skills you need to develop or what training you should seek to improve your proficiencies. For instance, Indra Nooyi had an intense climb up the corporate ladder to the Chairman and CEO of the snacks and beverage giant, PepsiCo. She held that position for 12 years.  

What positioned her for that leadership role? Was it her financial expertise? Her vision? Her expertise in setting goals? Her ability to motivate and inspire employees?  

Undoubtedly there is a person you know whether in your company or in another company that has abilities that led to her corporate success. Identify those capabilities, pinpoint one area where you would like to excel, make your goals for 2023, and you will begin more intelligently.  

3.The No Work Way To Reach Goals 

I hope you chuckled at this heading, “The No Work Way to Reach Goals” because effort is involved in any endeavor worth working for and achieving. What is meant by this statement is that if you do the upfront work, reaching your goals becomes predictable and relatively straightforward.  

The No Work Way to Reach Goals is to make a goal statement, then ask, “What must I do to reach this goal?” You keep asking this question until you get down to a daily task that will move you forward to reaching that goal. This task becomes part of your daily to-do list.  

The problem is that the upfront stuff or setting the goal takes mental effort and time.  

To illustrate, let’s use perhaps the most common goal statement made in January: Lose Weight.   

Ask, “What must I do to lose weight?” Eat healthy. East less. Exercise regularly.  

Several years ago, I knew a person who ran 5 miles every day. Why? Because he said if he did, he could eat anything he wanted. With this in mind, let’s say you choose the exercise regularly option.  

Ask the question, “What must I do to exercise regularly?” Buy home exercise equipment, get a subscription to a gym, bicycle, or jog the neighborhood.  

Let’s say you choose the least expensive, jog the neighborhood. “What must you do to jog the neighborhood on a consistent basis?” Purchase the best jogging shoes. “What must I do to purchase the proper jogging shoes?” Research shoes.  

When you get down to the to-do list item, look online and evaluate jogging shoes, you are making progress toward the No Work Way to reach your goals. The next to-do list item is to go to the store and purchase the shoes or order them from an online store.  

Now you are ready for the final step: Jogging in the morning before work. To make this a reality, before you go to bed at night, set your jogging shoes and your clothes in a convenient place so they are handy when you get out of bed.  

With this routine, you ensure the No Work Way to reach goals becomes your mindset. Tracking progress is checking off daily to-do list items. Combined with the Why Not Me determination, you will become who you want to be in 2023. 

About the Expert

Karla Brandau is the CEO, Brandau Power Institute, and a 25-year veteran of the speaking and training industry. Her book, “How to Earn the Gift of Discretionary Effort,” positions her as a thought leader and expert in re-calibrating leadership for the 21st century. Her presentations help managers become the leader people CHOOSE to follow not HAVE to follow because of their place on the organization chart.

She has spoken for Coca-Cola Enterprises, Panasonic, BYD America, National Facilities Management and Technology Conference, US Poultry and Egg Association, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Kitchen and Bath Association.  

Certifications include Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Facilitator, Registered Corporate Coach, Certified Professional Behaviors Analyst, Certified Professional Motivators Analyst, and EQi-2.0 Emotional Intelligence Facilitator.