Activity: How to Draft a WHY Statement

So last week we talked about finding and understanding your WHY. (If you didn’t read it – read it here first). 

How did that go? Any interesting insights? Did you watch the Ted talk by Simon Sinek? We will talk about some more of his processes and work below, but last week I left you with a very broad task. Look at some of the stories in your life and identify the themes. I always love leaving things open-ended at first; I believe this allows for a great amount of creativity. That we can refine and build upon.

Reviewing the stories of our lives – good and bad – is important. We all fundamentally live by our WHY on a day-to-day basis. However, as I said before, it can be difficult to articulate and tease out what your WHY is, based on what you have been through in your life. People will argue that your WHY changes throughout your life.

An example of an evolving WHY might look like this: 

“When I was in college/university, my WHY was to do well in school, so I could get a good job and support myself. Then I found my wife and she became my WHY. Then we had kids and they became my WHY.”

In no way am I saying those things are not very important in an individual’s life and can certainly be something to live for, but there is still a fundamental theme that can apply to all 3 situations.

In my case, my WHY again is to: Empower as many people as I possibly can to live a happier and healthier life. 

So, if I was the individual in the example above… University would be something I did to advance my knowledge and skills to help more people. For my future wife and kids, I think my WHY is pretty self-explanatory in how it applies to them as well. Does that make sense?

Now, examine a few stories from your life. If you haven’t shared them with someone, pick a date and a time to make it happen. You want someone to be objective, listen, and ask questions to get to the deeper meaning. Here are some of the themes I highlighted from my stories: 

  • Always seeking innovation 
  • Helping others 
  • Going against the status quo 
  • Living with passion 
  • Driven  

What did you find? You want to find recurring ideas, words, phrases, and feelings that emerge. You want to find 2-3 themes that seem to resonate with you or have a bigger role than the rest. 

After you have a couple of themes, let’s draft your own WHY. 

I love the template that Simon Sinek provides:

TO (Contribution) SO THAT (Impact)

To illustrate this – here’s what my WHY looks like: 

TO empower as many people as possible SO THAT they can live a happier and healthier life

The ‘Contribution’ is what you give to the lives of others, and what ‘Impact’ that contribution has on others. Keep it clear, simple, actionable, and use affirmative language that resonates with you! It doesn’t have to be perfect. You will likely create a number reiterations over the course of your life until you find the wording that works for YOU!  

There is no professional WHY or personal WHY. There will be themes that can lead to a contribution and action in any situation of your life. Remember your WHY is unwavering. It doesn’t change over time. Our Process and our Outcome may change, but the WHY remains the same. 

To quote Simon Sinek, ‘when we work with a clear WHY in mind, we show up every single day with the feeling that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.’ 

So how does becoming more active, losing weight, and improving your health contribute to the bigger picture and journey of life? 

Give it try. Feel free to send me what you come up with, I would love to see them! 

-Dr. Dan


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