find your why in business

What is your “why” in business?

When it comes to doing work that is meaningful, fulfilling, and purposeful, you need one thing above anything else: You need to find your “why.”

The concept of “finding your why” became popular with Simon Sinek’s book and Ted Talk, “Start With Why.” is a good place to start. In a nutshell, your why is your purpose or the reason behind what you do.

Your why in business is the underlying purpose behind what you do.

Think of your why as your personal mission statement or purpose statement. It will likely be broad, overarching, and speak to the larger vision you have for your self.

This is unlike a mission statement which is the mission your business serves to execute or a value proposition which is how you provide value to your clients.

Instead, your why is brief, one-sentence summary statement that sums up the purpose behind why you’re starting your business.

So how do you find your why?

Your why statement describes your vision for your life, the world, and what you hope to achieve through your work.

Your “why” is the overarching reason behind you do what you do. It’s the umbrella under which your work falls. (Don’t confuse your why with  your core message which should speak directly to your ideal clients. Your why is more personal and aspirational.

Taking time to find your why is an important exercise, especially if you want to do meaningful work. It’s also important to do the work to find your “why” at the beginning of your business journey, because it lays the groundwork for so many other key business decisions.

Your why serves as a guiding light

Being able to articulate your “why” or your purpose is important for two reasons:

  1. It grounds you: Your “why” serves as the foundation for all that you do.
  2. It inspires you: Your “why” serves as a guiding light that connects you to your vision and where you want to go.

When you find your “why” in business, these things happen:

  • You connect to your big vision for yourself and for your work.
  • You can better articulate your vision, which in turn helps you articulate that to the world.
  • You know what you’re aiming for, so you can keep your mind on your mission, even in times of uncertainty.
  • You find it easier to stay motivated, keep going and doing the work.
  • You’re tied into a purpose that is much bigger than you. You know what you hope to achieve through your work and how that serves the world.

Even though the “how” of your work may change over time, as well as “who” you serve, your “why” likely will not change much.

Questions to ask to find your why in business

So often people start businesses or careers without stopping to ask themselves why it is they’re doing it in the first place.

Here are a few questions that can help you find your why in business.

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What’s your overall vision?
  3. What drives you?
  4. What are your values?
  5. What is it you hope to achieve through your work?

Don’t worry, if you’ve never thought about this before it can seem daunting. You might not answer these overnight.

What if you still don’t know your why?

If you’re struggling with finding your why or answering the questions above, try meditating, journaling, or even hiring a coach to help you work through this foundational piece of business.

Pay attention to what inspires you about your work and about life in general, and what brings you true happiness. Ask yourself why you’re starting this business in the first place.

Finding your why is the first and arguably the most important step in starting a purpose-driven business.

With holistic business coaching, I guide clients through this exercise as part of the coaching process. We find your why first, because it sets the stage for so many other business decisions, which together create the foundation for an aligned, sustainable business.

If you’re curious to learn more about coaching with me, you can view my services here.