About two years ago, I decided to stop wearing antiperspirant or deodorant. There is mixed data regarding diseases brought on by antiperspirant, especially in women. I wondered if I could do without it. It became a self imposed challenge that changed the way I make decisions forever.
Society teaches kids early on to be likable, pleasant, social, cooperative and in the end, conforming. This is the baseline. Outside of this, society pushes kids to innovate and create new and exciting tools that can solve problems and, in the end, increase much of the same factors - likability, social connection and community cooperation. These factors are generally external end goals. They can be compared to key performance indicators such as sales, profitability, followers, likes, hits, and ad clicks.
These factors are all 'the what' factors. What are you aiming for? What are you going to get? What is the result?
In the case of antiperspirant/ deodorant, 'the what' is smelling fresh and clean.
The reason why you may want to get to your end goals is to connect to people, increase value, solve problems or delight and enchant your community.
'The why' in any business can be customer driven, social cause driven, or solution driven. Whatever the root may be, the measurement tool ends with the user or customer. These factors include key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, a high net promoter score, referral scores, and qualitative online reviews.
In the case of antiperspirant/ deodorant, 'the why' is because you want to be attractive to others, not offend anyone, and, possibly, get a compliment.
As a baseline, you grow up picking up 'the what' you want to be striving for. If you're lucky and you're connected to your passionate heart, and surrounded by creative, inspiring people, you will eventually connect to 'the why' in what it is that you are doing. But what about 'the how?'
When you wear any antiperspirant or deodorant, you are attempting to smell fresh and clean, especially to others, by blocking your own natural scent. 'The what' is there, 'the why' is there, but 'the how' is totally out of alignment. In the case of wearing antiperspirant/ deodorant, you are rejecting your own natural scent to get to the end goal of smelling fresh.
So many companies, organizations and families in today's society are making decisions in rejection of themselves, their health, their loved ones just to get to their end goal. What message does that send to the people around them and to younger generations? Does it say that the end goal is more important than well being? Is it possible to teach those around you a better 'how' - a better method of getting to the end goal together?
I stopped wearing deodorant and I smelled horrible for awhile. Apparently, there is back up of toxins and gunk that needs to come out first before you can even smell yourself in real time. Then, when I started smelling my own natural scent, it was a miracle. It's my body's beautiful and subtle way of communicating to me via scent. If I want to smell good, I eat the foods that my body digests well, drink lots of water, and take breaks to nurture and refresh my body. I smell good. More importantly though beyond the reward of smelling good, I feel more energy, healthier and have more focus and brain clarity without all the processed gunk floating around in my body.
The decision to stop wearing deodorant made me a better decision maker because, now, when 'my how' is aligned with 'my what' and 'my why', there is more participation from the people around me, more flow and more alignment. I stay present in the decision making process to observe and decide if there is a more aligned way to get to any one goal.
When The How Suffers
When 'the how' suffers, ultimately, your 'what' and 'why' don't matter much because at some point along the journey, the way you were approaching any action will come back to haunt you if it was suffering.
Although wearing deodorant your whole life might not have any negative impact or cause disease, your lifestyle habits certainly will. The way you are eating, moving, nurturing your body and staying hydrated will have direct results on the way you feel and live. Your scent is just one way your body communicates with you - it's just one key performance indicator. There are many. If you pay attention to subtleties, you may notice more factors and they all need your attention. 'The how' matters more these days than 'the what' and 'the why.'
Two common areas of business to look at when you're thinking about decisions in this way:
1. When you're trying to drive down costs, is it in rejection of your company's mission or why? Is the way ('the how') you're driving down costs in alignment with the health of your company and all its employees?
2. When customer satisfaction is high on your goals list, are you putting systems in place that are attacking your customers with too many survey questions and robotic customer representatives that lack connection? Your 'why' might be pure and in tact, but maybe the 'how' you're doing it is actually in rejection of connection itself.