At a certain stage in life we continually ask the question “Why?” For those who have young children you know exactly what I mean. We seem to repeat the same question over and over when we are interested in learning something new or searching for an answer. It is as if when we look through the lens of a camera we will find what we are searching for…

As an entrepreneurial coach, we often discuss the elusive question “Why” and how it defines our purpose. The why is related to the things that we do in our company, is the foundation for our personal goals and creates a connection with our friends and family. 

There are a number of people who specialize in providing us with tools to answer the question why. Just take a look at the bookstore shelves and you will find a sea of information. Why has created a phenomenon around asking ourselves the question related to leadership, business innovation and philanthropy. Asking the question “Why” is a naturally reoccurring pattern, a way of thinking, acting and communicating that starts a new conversation.  Many leaders ask the question to inspire those around them and create better connections.

It is a question that may be applied to almost everything we do and I find that throughout the conversation we end up connecting the dots between purpose and authenticity by asking this simple question. It most often changes and evolves with life experience.

Purpose, by definition is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Authenticity, is simply being “genuine.”

As we apply these definitions, a strong sense of purpose creates a roadmap for ongoing success. It provides us with the confidence to pursue our dreams or implement course corrections in our own personal journey. It is directly related to our thoughts and feelings on living authentically.  It leads us to our passion!

How many people do you know who have changed jobs, careers and even went back to school in response to asking “Why?”

Purpose, becomes the guidepost or foundation into how we choose to live our life. In fact, one might argue that without purpose, we have lost our way…sending us on a quest to answer the question and search for the signposts that will lead us towards a life of authenticity. What we do and how we do it has become a source of reflection when we ask the question “Why?”

I often use this exercise with clients:  Take a piece of paper and create a  column for each answer by writing single words or key phrases the the following questions: 

Why do you get out of bed every morning?…
Howdo you feel at the beginning of each day?…
Why do you do the work that you do?…
What are three things that excites you about your career?…
Why do you sell this product/or service?…
When you speak with your customers; what do they say?…
How do you feel at the end of the day?…

Circle the words that appear more than once on the page. Did you find any similarities?

There may be number of keywords that are repeated: energized, motivated and curious to name a few.  These may lead you to a better understanding of your “why” and create a roadmap to your passion.

When I ask the question “why” it often leads to a discussion that ends with a description of our passion project.  It completes the definition of purpose and creates a foundation for authenticity as a source of energy that leads to great things.

As part of my passion project, I have started on a journey to share stories of ordinary people who are passionate about their careers. We share lightbulb moments and three words of advise with the hope of inspiring others to pursue their dreams.

I’m sure you are able to answer that question with conviction…excitement and purpose!

Why? ______________ You fill in the blank.

    “Be the person who starts a ripple that creates a wave of change”


  • Trish Tonaj

    Author, Artist, Speaker, Founder/Host


    Trish is an, author, artist and speaker on mentorship.   She has published 2 books: Breaking Barriers 10 Entrepreneurial Women Share Their Stories and A Diary of Change 12 Personal Tools. With a love for writing she has co-authored a complimentary e-magazine W2 = Wealth and Wellbeing. She is the founder/host for the #ShareYourStories series and invites you to participate with your feature.