What Is A WHY And How Do I Figure It Out?

what is a whyYou’ve probably heard that you need to have a WHY.  What exactly does that mean?  And why do you need a WHY?  Here’s my take on that topic and a great exercise to help you figure out what your WHY is.

What Is A WHY?

A WHY is different for everyone, but it is that compelling reason, the driving force, that keeps you moving towards your goals and dreams.  It is why you are doing what you are doing.  It is that reason that you feel deep down inside that keeps you going even when things get tough or seem impossible.  Your WHY is very personal and should be compelling enough to you that when you think about it you feel great emotion — it may even make you cry.

Can you just imagine what having that kind of force behind you, actually inside you, will do for you?  Lets say you are working towards a goal, we’ll say having a successful business that supports you and your family, and things just aren’t going well.  Seems that what ever you try, just isn’t working.  If you have a compelling WHY to fall back on, it will help you find the inner resolve to keep trying to find and figure out what WILL work.  Your WHY really does keep you going!  If you don’t have a really good, strong WHY, it would be so easy to just throw in the towel and quit!

How Do I Figure Out My WHY?

Everyone’s WHY is unique to them and their dreams.  So how do you come up with a really strong, compelling WHY?  You need to figure out what you want to do and why you want to do it.  Once you know what you want to do, try this exercise to determine your compelling WHY:

  1. Write down what you want.
  2. Write down why you want what you want.
  3. Write down why that is important to you.
  4. Look at your answer and again write down why that is important.
  5. Do step #4 at least 3 more times.

Once you have done that you should have a really focused WHY.  It may seem redundant to repeat step #4 so many times, but it really helps you get crystal clear on exactly why you want what you want and why it is so important to you.  By the time you get done, you should feel very strong emotions about what you discovered about what you really want.  Take your last iteration, your real reason, and write it out in a way that you can remember it easily so you can recall it when you need it.  You can even create a nice graphic you can display above your work space, just to encourage yourself!

What Is A WHY?

Your task now is to sit down and take the time to determine your WHY.  It will make all the difference for you and help you reach the goals and dreams you have for yourself!  I would love to hear how this exercise works for you. Let me know in the comments below!



  1. This is a powerful exercise . I have witnessed it in a crowd of 5000 and it was emotional and powerful. Keep asking yourself “what would that give you or do for you” the answer is not what you think.

  2. This is a great article!

    I struggle to respond with my ‘WHY’ when asked as I have so many reasons ‘WHY’ I do what I do.

    But after doing this exercise, my answer surprised me too.


    I just really, passionately want to be FREE to do whatever I WANT to do – travel, read, knit, learn music – whatever!

    I’m into my second year of my five year plan for my Freedom.

    Moving forward with even more passion than ever before.

    Thanks Carol!
    Sonia recently posted…How it all began….My Profile

  3. A marketer said that “If you why does not make you cry its not a big enough reason.”
    Long after excitement has left you sheer determination will keep you going to the finish
    I agree with this post and I would like to add that in addition to having a why you need to have vision and goals… If Vision is the roadmap and Goals are the milestones along the route then the why would be the fuel… to keep you going…

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