A major cause of stress and unhappiness is that we work so hard doing all we must do, that we lose sight of our own bigger picture.  

Without awareness of the WHY of our life, we’re moving further and further away from the joy and fulfillment available to us ~ and toward an experience of more stress, frustration, and perhaps even illness.

Here’s how it works when we don’t find and embody our purpose.

Years ago I was in a leadership role at Best Year Yet, but I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Not because I didn’t love what we were doing, our staff, and our clients, but because I wasn’t embodying my purpose.  I was in that role because I thought I had no choice.  But I can still remember the feeling of being imprisoned.

We get in this kind of predicament because we don’t give ourselves permission to pause long enough to think about what we really want our lives to be about. And if we have an inkling what that might be, we sometimes don’t believe we could make it happen.  Still there’s hope for us.  Simon Sinek is the master cheerleader for leading a life inspired by our purpose:

It is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning . . . every morning with a clear sense of why that day matters, why every day matters.

This is what it means to find your WHY.

How to find your purpose

Here’s what I’ve learned.  

You don’t have to look for your purpose because it’s right there in front of you, just as it was for me.

In 1980 I was living in London working for a personal transformation business and falling in love with another American named Tim.  Life was perfect!  But then the General Manager called me into his office and said I was going to Los Angeles to do an even bigger job.  Flattered ~ and devastated.

My love ~ or the best job I’d ever had?  An impossible choice, but I did know what I wanted.  Yet I was afraid.  I wanted to stay with Tim, but what if he changed his mind? I let my heart make the choice, and it’s made all the difference.

Several days later I was standing in the shower, worrying about where to find a job.  Then for the first time in my life, this question occurred to me:

What would I do all day to make a living if I could do whatever I wanted?

I was still and then I knew the answer.  You see, I’d been frustrated for some time.  I’d listen to people tell me about what they really wanted to do.  I was excited for them, but when I saw them later and asked how they were doing, each one had the same answer.  “I’m going to do it, but I’ve just been so busy!  I promise I’ll do it!”  As Werner Erhard would say,

Reasons rather than results.

The answer to my question was simple.  My purpose was right there in front of me.  What I love doing is supporting people to use their gifts to make dreams come true and to know that their lives matter. I knew I’d found my purpose, I knew it would work, and I knew it was something people truly needed ~ so my coaching career was born.  The point of my story?

Find and embody your life purpose, by listening to your heart. 

To find your WHY, ask yourself the following questions and write down whatever occurs to you.  Don’t edit, but rather trust your heart and your natural wisdom.

   1.  What would I do all day to make a living if I could do what I really wanted to do?

   2.  How would I define my life’s purpose?  (a statement like mine in the story above)

My purpose is to support people to use their gifts to make dreams come true and to know that their lives matter.

   3.  What will my life be like when I’m doing what really matters to me?

   4.  Who is my most supportive partner, the one who will keep me on track?

   5.  What’s my next step?


 I recommend making a Best Year Yet plan as another great way to realize what matters most to you.  When you answer its 10 questions, your answers come from the essence of who you are.  You will experience a powerful transformation while creating a one-page plan for your life or your business. 

To find out more about executive coaching and integrating Best Year Yet into your business, contact [email protected].


  • Jinny S. Ditzler

    Jinny is the founder of Best Year Yet® and the author of Your Best Year Yet! The system has over 1 million happy individual and organizational users around the world.

    Jinny's purpose is to support people to use their gifts to have dreams come true and to know that they matter. She is one of the first founders of the modern coaching movement, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and LinkedIn, having written eight years for The Huffington Post. She’s the first to say none of this could have happened without her family, the clients, and the global team, all of whom contributed valuable knowledge, skill and talent to bring the program to its worldwide status. Jinny started coaching business leaders and executives 37 years ago, and in the early 1990’s her work evolved to include top business teams and organization-wide programs, designed to transform the way people work together to achieve better results and build happier companies. The Best Year Yet Partners have worked with such organizations as Zurich Insurance Group, NatWest Bank, Bank of the West USA, Heineken, Pepsico and such nonprofits as The Hunger Project, Wounded Warriors, and the Humane Society ~ as well as smaller businesses, schools, and charities around the world. Jinny is currently writing a new book and coaching leaders. Her blessings are a happy marriage of 37 years, two remarkable sons, two perfect daughters-in-law, and four beautiful granddaughters.