4MAT : A Simple Technique with Huge Impact


There are moments in life when I come across one simple technique that makes a huge difference. Sometimes it's an answer to a puzzle you've been chewing on for quite some time. Sometimes it may even come with the magnitude of an epiphany. Mostly, however, it is a beautiful simplicity that creates movement, and you wonder how you could ever have done without it.

I want to share one of my favorite tools that I found about 10 years ago. This tool helps me continuously manifest from inspiration. I found it shortly after I had decided to change careers and start my own business.

After the initial excitement and energy boost wore off, I asked myself: How was I going to do this? Like all the things in life we haven’t done before, there was no experience to draw upon. As the days went by, all the different aspects of having my own business morphed into a paralyzing jungle: from accountancy questions and tax regulations to business cards, from a strong marketing message to finding clients--all of the new territory left me feeling wholly overwhelmed.

I could feel my inspiration being threatened to go down the drain, and probably my business idea with it. Luckily, I attended a workshop where I was introduced to the concept of “4-mat”.  4-mat is nothing more than 4 simple questions that guide your stream of thought. They help you gain clarity so energy can flow again.

The four questions are:

  1. Why?

  2. What?

  3. How?

  4. What if?

I sat down and started to answer these questions for my business idea:

  1. Why? What is the inspiring purpose behind this project or problem to be solved?

  2. What? What kinds of actions might cause progress (learning a new skill, making connections, etc.)?

  3. How? In what ways might I take those actions (schedule meetings, take a class, hire a resource, etc.)?

  4. What if? What is the future vision if you are successful (for yourself, others and the community)?

What often happens is we lose touch with why we want something. We get so involved in the what and how we tend to forget why. Expressing why reconnects us instantly with our source of inspiration. Asking "what if" paints the picture of a desired future, which is very reassuring. The middle questions point us to the most effective actions. One of the reasons I clearly resonate with this tool is because of how closely it aligns with Tiara's Model for True Leadership(SM). All the elements of inspired momentum are included.

Since I have fallen in love with 4-mat I use it for nearly every idea. My why and what if don't change much. The what and how continually evolve.

  • How does the 4-mat help you with an idea you currently have?

  • What other simple tools do you use to unlock energy and make inspired progress?