4 Questions to Help Find Your "Why"
There's a reason why "finding your why" is considered a top business priority. What we call your "why" is simply the deeper purpose behind why you're doing what you're doing. It not only keeps you motivated by also guides every decision you make, from how you structure your business model to how you shape your brand messaging and leverage consumer engagement.
If you've never fully articulated your "why," don't wait another day.
4 Questions to Help Find Your "Why"
Whether you're just starting out on a journey to find your "why" or you have lost sight of it along the way, these four questions will get you on track.
"What Energizes and Excites Us?"
The old adage "Find what you like to do and you'll never work a day in your life" is a bit misleading, but it does highlight a core truth--both for individuals and for teams. When people are doing what they love, even when the work is hard, their natural passion for the project keeps them engaged in ways few other motivations would.
Most companies launch with an energized and exciting vision. Over time, however, we can get so in the weeds that we lose sight of it. Reconnecting with that initial passion may be what it takes to reconnect with your "why."
"What Values Do We Hold Dear?"
Every company shapes itself around core values: ideals such as integrity, diversity, inclusion, and leadership. These are intended to keep everyone from the top down working toward a common cause.
In searching for your "why," you often need to look no further than your own stated values. Over and above the goods and services you will provide, what does your organization offer the world on a broader scale? Naming these values and discussing them among your teams just may give you your answer.
"How Did We Get Our Start?"
Origin stories are powerful. For proof, look no further than the recent Marvel movies. In order to understand why the characters behave the way they do in the present, we must first understand what happened to them in the past. (This goes for both the heroes and the villains!)
Origin stories don't just matter in fiction. They're also important to brands.
Many of us—businesses included—are sitting on stories we don't think of as good stories; they're just things that happened to us. No big deal. Not true. Those things matter to your employees, customers, and the people you do business with. Your stories provide evidence of your character. Your stories illustrate what you say you're all about. (Echo Stories)
In order to uncover your organization's powerful origin story, look back over its history with the following questions in mind:
- What were our biggest early obstacles?
- In what ways were the odds stacked against the founders?
- What specifics made outsiders think we had a small likelihood to succeed?
Articulating the specifics of your company's early "hard times" could prove the key to discovering (or re-discovering!) your "why."
"What Problems are We Trying to Solve?"
Sometimes finding your "why" is about stepping back and getting a bird's-eye view. This requires you to think less about what your company's doing and more about how it's having an impact.
Your goods or services might be involved with any of the following:
- helping end world hunger
- improving global communications
- bringing equality to marginalized groups
- simplifying travel woes
- keeping people safe
If you can connect with the impact you're having on a global scale, you're often able to articulate why you're doing what you're doing.
And you'll have even more energy to keep on doing it.