What Is Your Why?

11/27/2013 | Roger and Susie Engelau

In our last post, we talked about the importance of knowing your Why and how it’s the single most important word that can revolutionize your business and life by giving you purpose, energy, and attracting the right kinds of people to you.

But, whenever we talk about how absolutely critical it is to know your Why if you want to be successful, we get one question over and over:

How do I know what MY Why is?

Some people just know. It makes their heart race and their body tingle to think about it. It provides a never-ending source of energy and inspiration. But, others aren’t so sure. If you’re in the latter category, maybe you have several things you’re passionate about, so it’s hard to choose. Maybe you’ve allowed fear to overpower your dreams.

Whatever it is, today we’re sharing a powerful exercise that’ll help you discover your Why and get yourself on track for pursuing the mission that you were made for.

Ready to begin?

Here’s what you do. Find a quiet spot, grab a notebook, and start writing down the answers to these questions. (If you’re an extravert, you might want to ask a friend to let you talk it out to them. Be sure to record this for later reference.)

  1. Why do you do what you do? For the sake of what…? No matter what you answer, follow up with the question: Why is that important? For whatever that answer is, ask it again: Why is that important?  Repeat this two or three more times.
  2. List a few times when you were your happiest.  What were you doing?
  3. Think of times when you were oblivious to the passing of time.  What were you doing?
  4. What are your interests? What do you crave to spend time doing?
  5. What cause or issue can get you on a soapbox?
  6. What cause or issue touches your heart every time you hear about it?
  7. What excites you in the world? List two or three things.
  8. What angers you in the world? List two or three things.
  9. When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
  10. What did you do for fun as a kid? What were your favorite toys?
  11. What came particularly easy for you as a child?
  12. When you were in high school, what did you consider your dream job to be? List all the things that come to mind. Your values can affect this. For example, my wife would have said Broadway singer and interior designer, but when she lists her values of family and local community, interior designer fits more closely.
  13. What do you do best? What are your strengths?
  14. When people say, “Oh, you’re so good at ________,” how do they complete the sentence?
  15. Think of times when someone has been genuinely helped my something you’ve done.  What did you do?
  16. At those times when you’re certain you’re good at whatever it is that you’re doing, what are you doing?
  17. Write down at least 20 talents you’ve been given and then rank them High—Medium—Low.

Take a look at all of your answers.  What patterns emerged?  Form it into a single sentence—no more!  Start the sentence with…

“I believe…” OR
“I envision a world…” OR
“We work to…”

You might find that what follows is quite different from what you expected. Most likely, it’s profoundly different from what you’ve been communicating to customers, employees, and other stakeholders—maybe even your family.


Because, now you have something meaningful—something you and others can sink your teeth into and rally around.

Now you have your WHY.

And you can use it to revolutionize your results in your business.

Did you do this exercise?  Share your one-sentence WHY in the comments below!

Learn more!  Download my FREE “Find Your Why” worksheet AND a powerful exercise to help you find your values, so that you can use your gifts to create more success in business and life.  Get it here.