Why You Should Always Ask Why
We all know that knowing your "why" is important, but it's so much more than just a talking point or mission statement. It's the thing that drives your decisions, which is why you should come back to it frequently.
Recently, my husband shared how he is using the question of “why” to help his team stay on track. They were given a new assignment by their administration and immediately jumped into a how to complete the assignment and who would do each part. They argued for almost an hour trying to figure out the best approach and what would have the best outcome without adding too much to their already heavy workload.
But they got nowhere because they didn’t start with why they were working on this new assignment. They didn’t know the overall purpose, so they got lost in the details. This happens frequently in business, especially when you’re doing things on your own with no one to bounce ideas off of.
So how do you make sure you’re always making Why a part of your business? We’re going to go through a few easy steps to help you stay on track.
Questions to Help You Ask Why
Asking why means that you’re constantly coming back to the bigger purpose behind your business. You’re not doing something just to kill time or because you don’t know what else to do. You won’t feel like you’re throwing money and ideas at a wall to see what will stick because you know what you want and can go after it. These questions can help you focus and lead you as you make decisions for your business:
What am I trying to learn?
If you’re thinking about hiring a coach, buying a course or investing in another type of learning opportunity, this is a really important question. Courses and coaches can be helpful, but only if you’re actually going into it knowing what you need to learn. That way, you can make the best decision because you’re thinking ahead instead of just going with something that sounds good.
Why is this important?
This question is great for figuring out whether you want to share something on your blog or social media. We all have a limited time to create content, so making sure that what you’re sharing has value will have a big impact. And that value doesn’t always mean super in-depth tutorials and sharing really personal moments – there is a purpose behind sharing the day to day as well if it makes sense for your business and your audience.
What am I trying to say?
Want to share something, but feeling stuck for the words? Start with this question to get things rolling. By focusing in on what you’re really trying to say, you can cut through the clutter and get to the heart of your message.
Why does it matter?
This question is huge (and difficult at times) because it really makes you dig below the surface. If you aren’t sure if something you’re creating – content, services, products, etc. – fits into your bigger mission, this question can help you get into it and take a good look at what really matters and what you can cut out.
Here’s the thing – the reason why doesn’t have to be something big or intangible. It might be as small eating that piece of chocolate because it tastes good and you want to indulge a little. And that’s okay. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, as long as you have one you’re comfortable with.
Letting 'Why' Drive Your Decisions
If you’re struggling with making decision or feeling overwhelmed by all the options out there, you’re not alone. I’ve been there – trying to fall asleep while all the ideas are floating around in my head – so I know how difficult it can be to know if you’re working on the right thing.
That’s why coming back to the question of why is so important – it can keep you on track and moving forward. By always asking why before starting a new project or idea, you will be better able to decide what will keep your business focused on what’s important and what is simply noise.
That might mean that you turn down an opportunity so you can spend more time with your family or that you change the services you offer in order to do work that lights you up. Over time, as your focus changes, coming back to the question of why will help you continue to build your business in a way that supports you without feeling stuck doing what you’ve always done.
Asking why will also help you move forward with intention because you’ll be spending your time working on the things that matter most to you and the people you serve – and prevent you from getting distracted by all the shiny objects and ideas.
Instead of starting something new every time a new idea comes into your head, you can take some time to figure out if that idea will really benefit you and your business in the long run. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to launch that doesn’t go as well as you hoped, but it can help you focus on the work that matters most to you and serves your clients.
These are some areas of your business that asking why can really help you grow and stay true to your mission:
Dream Client - If you want to build a business based on your why and help serve others, you need to know who your dream client is and how you can reach them where they are right now.
It may seem like selling your services or product is the overall goal of your business, but by keeping your why in mind, you can create offerings that fit your message.
Your website is your business’s online storefront. Using your why to guide your content and design will build on the message you want to communicate.
Good businesses are built on strong processes that help you work more efficiently and serve your clients better. As you’re developing processes, keep your why in mind.
Social media can be overwhelming and it’s easy to get caught up in sharing because you want to keep up with everyone else, but what you share should have a purpose.
What Comes After Why
Once you’ve asked why it’s time to actually get to work. And I can tell you from experience that if you know why you’re doing something – whether it’s to save up for a new house or to help women grow their businesses – it’s easier to really commit to it.
And keep coming back to the question of why. It can help you decide things from the best type of client gift to send to how you want to schedule your day. When you first start asking why, it may feel uncomfortable or unnecessary, but as you practice, it will become second nature. And that will only improve your business because you’ll be focusing on what’s most important to you.
Finally, share your why. We’re all sitting in our own homes trying to make these businesses grow and seeing that other people get it can be really uplifting and encouraging. You never know how sharing your why might impact someone else (and maybe even bring you some new clients).
Even sharing the reasons behind smaller decisions like the material you use in your product or why you chose not to offer a certain service can help you connect with other like-minded people who will be your cheerleaders.
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By Samantha Mabe
Samantha Mabe is a brand and website designer who helps creative entrepreneurs share their vision through design. Her background is in design and architecture, but she’s been creating since she could hold a pencil.
She focuses on working with creative entrepreneurs who are ready to dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them. Samantha is a Pittsburgh native now living in Richmond, Virginia where she spends her days designing brands and websites and her evenings watching Netflix with her husband and their dog #gambittheweshi.