WHAT is a “WHY”?  It’s your passionate purpose.  It’s the impact you want to have on the world around you.  The SIZE of the impact doesn’t matter: some people want to touch billions; some people want to help a handful of folks.  Your WHY is about the effect you want to have on people. 

WHY is this important?  Your WHY is fuel for your long entrepreneurial journey.  Your WHY gives you the energy to get out of bed at 3am or leap over tall buildings!  You’re going to encounter obstacles and setbacks on your journey; having a big WHY keeps you going.

When you don’t know your WHY, you lack clarity about what’s important and whether you should go in this direction or that one.  You get side-tracked very easily.

Your WHY is like catnip to clients, team members, and colleagues!  When people hear your passion and energy, they get passionate and energized.  If you can’t get revved up about your big purpose, no one else will.

As an example, my WHY is helping women entrepreneurs make more money, feel more confident and get more decision-making power.

How do you FIGURE OUT your big WHY?

  • When you think about what makes you really mad or really sad (in a business context), you’re getting close to your WHY.  When I look at my WHY, it makes me mad when I see that men have more decision-making power than women do.
  • Your WHY is going to relate to one of your core values.   One of my core values is fairness.  When I feel like women don’t get a fair break, I get angry.
  • It connects to WHO you serve (e.g., stay-at-home moms, underprivileged youth, athletes).
  • When your business purpose connects to your WHY, what gets you really excited is the results your Ideal Client or Team Member receives from working with you.

Most likely, your WHY relates to one of your pivotal life experiences.    When you were a version of WHO you serve, you either personally experienced the conditions that made you mad/sad or you saw someone else in that situation.  And you felt STRONGLY mad or sad because that situation violated one or more of your core values.  This matters so much to you that you are on a mission to empower other people in a very specific way, so they won’t have to experience what you or someone close to you went through.

How do you USE it?

Remember that shifting your mindset means shifting your thoughts, your words and your actions.

Here are some ways to allow your WHY to help you in developing a more expansive and positive mindset.

  • Write down some key words or phrases from your answers above on some index cards and post them where you can see them: bathroom mirror, refrigerator, in your car.
  • When you see a picture that symbolizes those words or feelings, cut it out and tape it up somewhere you can see it, or put it in a picture frame on your desk.
  • If your WHY involves your family in a significant way, put a picture of them on your desk and add a couple words or phrases to it, to remind you of their role in your WHY.
  • Speak your WHY daily!  Talk to yourself about your WHY.  This is a great exercise to do in front of your bathroom mirror, or at a stoplight in your car.  Just run through your WHY and describe the emotions and effects of achieving your WHY – for you, for your family, for the rest of the world around you.
  • Start using words and phrases from your WHY in your daily conversation.  For example, if you really want to empower other women, start talking about women and empowerment with friends or colleagues.  There is almost ALWAYS a story in the day’s news about a woman doing something remarkable, taking a lead role in something, you can easily talk about that and how you admire women who are doing important work, who are helping others, who are empowering others.


  • Who do you find it MOST rewarding to help?
  • What about their situation or possibilities makes you mad or sad?
  • What are your core values that show up in your answers above?

Put that together, and you’ll be on or near your WHY.

The sooner you get this sorted out for yourself,

  • You’ll have more energy for your work
  • Other people will be magnetized by what you do (vs. just interested or worse, bored)
  • You’ll gain much more clarity in your decisions about where to spend your precious time.