Know your why - a quick and easy guide to get clear on your why by Sarah Jensen

One of the most important steps you can take when starting a business is to know your why.

Your why is your starting point.

Your foundation.

Your driving force.

It’s what everything you create is built from.

A strong, clear “why” will anchor you in your purpose and keep you going when the going gets tough.

It will also become a filter you can run ideas and decisions through to make sure you’re moving forward in a way that supports your biz vision.

So, how do you figure out your why if you’re not quite sure where to start?


How to Find Your Why

Your why is a combination of two main things:

1. What you want your business to bring into your life; and

2. How you want to feel in your business.

From there you can create your very own success vision for your biz.

Let’s dig deeper.


What Do You Want?

Take a minute to answer these two questions:

Why do you want to start (or grow) your business?


What is it you think having a business will bring into your life?

Your motivation for starting a business might be because you want to help people, or maybe you’ve got a tonne of great information and knowledge to share.


I started a business to help believe in themselves and have the courage and confidence to go after their goals in a way that works best for them.

I’m a rebel with a kind heart so I love to help people do what they love in their own, unique way. (Think anti-cookie cutter, rocking your own style and owning your awesome.)

You might say I’m a “march to the beat of my own drum” kinda gal, and I love helping others find their own tune.

And when it comes to what you want your biz to bring into your life, it might be more time or more money.

The freedom to choose your own hours.

Quality time with your kids, family, pets or friends.

Travelling or working from anywhere in the world.

Being your own boss and writing your own rules.

Doing what you love.

Or leaving a legacy.

Whatever you’re craving, it will be unique to you (and that’s awesome).

For me, I crave freedom, choice, variety, learning, connection, financial freedom and fun.

I want to create a biz where I can work to my strengths, be my own boss, and both harness and honour my energetic ebbs and flows (i.e. I’m a highly sensitive person and total night owl).

What about you?

Why are you in business?

What do you want to give and what do you want to receive from your business?


How Do You Want To Feel?

It’s also really important to get crystal clear about how you want to FEEL.

The queen of designing a feelings-based life, Danielle LaPorte, is all about figuring out how you want to feel so you can invite more of that goodness into your life on a daily basis.

And your business is no different.

Think about it.

You can bust your butt, working 80 hours weeks, hustling like a mofo and running yourself into the ground to “grow your dream biz”.

But is that really the dream approach?

Or does that scenario have you madly working towards some special moment in the future when you feel like you’ve “made it”.

And, in the meantime, you’ll probably burn yourself out and totally lose your mojo.

That’s how it rolled for me.

Here’s how my biz evolution looked.

  • Have an idea.

  • Get excited.

  • Experiment, learn, play, make friends and have fun.

  • Feel great.

  • Start looking to experts for how to next level things.

  • Start trying to do what the experts were doing.

  • Doubt everything I was doing.

  • Create an out of control to-do list.

  • Get overwhelmed.

  • Feel like shit.

  • Give up for a while and hide.

  • Feel re-energised from tuning out the noise.

  • Start doing things my way again.

  • Start having fun again.

  • Realise the joy is in the journey and success (for me) is in the sharing.

You get to choose.

You could ride that horse into burnout-town, or you could build a biz that feels great from day one.

Let’s look at it another way…

If the number one, most important feeling you’re craving is fun, but you’re spending 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, working in a way that’s totally un-fun, how’s your business going to feel?

I’m thinking draining, overwhelming, exhausting and just plain crappy.

But, if you find ways to inject a tonne of fun into the way you work – which for you might mean mini dance breaks, co-working with a super fun friend, an afternoon beach walk with your furry friend, or taking yourself out for lunch at your favourite café, plus practical stuff like setting office hours and loving boundaries around your time and energy, then you won’t be ‘waiting until when’, you’ll be feeling the fun every day.

And when you consciously create that kind of energy, you’ll find that working on your biz will feel easier, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll enjoy it so much more.

(Important note – I’m not saying that every day will be sunshine and rainbows, we’re human here people, there will be bad days, there will be down days, there will be difficult days – on those days roll with your energy, look after yourself and know it’s going to be ok.)

What I AM saying here is that when you break your ‘why’ down to the bare bones basics, you’ll find it’s about feelings, not things.

So, what do you want from YOUR business?


Why You Need A Why

So why should you get super clear about your why?

It will give you:

1. A clear purpose so you know what you’re trying to achieve (what you want and how you want to feel in your biz);

2. Fuel to keep you going when you feel tired, frustrated or stuck; and

3. A guide or filter which will help you make decisions and run your business in a way that works for you.

And that filter / guide means whatever you’re doing in your business, or whenever you’re flexing your decision-making muscles, you can ask yourself this question:

“Is this aligned with my why?”

If the answer is “Yes”, that’s great.

If the answer is “No” then you can tweak things until it is.

And it will be a BIG help when you’re first starting out and you’re tempted to say yes to EVERYTHING – because instead of overloading yourself with ALL of the things, you can say yes to the good stuff that moves you forward towards your goals + vision, and no to the stuff that’s not aligned.

Yay for that.


Action Time

It’s action time, my friend!

Grab a notebook and a pen or download the electronic fun sheet and let’s work through a couple of quick activities to help you get crystal clear about why you want to start your business.

What's Your Why? - Your free guide to getting clear on your Why - by Sarah Jensen


Answer these questions:

Why do you want to start a business?
(For example, to inspire people, make a difference, share what I’ve learned about a topic.)

What do you think having a business will bring into your life?

(For example, more money, time, flexibility, freedom, creativity, adventure, joy, abundance, quality time with family and friends, travel, inspiration, connection.)

{write down your answers}



Which feelings are most important to you and how do you want to feel in your

(For example, accomplished, authentic, balanced, brave, content, confident, connected, ease, empowered, energised, free, generous, inspired, joyful, loved, loving, nourished, open, passionate, purposeful, respected, secure, strong, valued, vulnerable, wealthy, wise.)

{write down your answers}



The final step is to create your dream biz vision.

This is where you get to turn all those wants, needs, and desires into a clear statement about the future you’re going to create.

You might like to write a letter to your future self, reflecting on how proud you feel about all you’ve achieved and listing all the great things you’ve done.

You might like to put an order in to the Universe so it can dish you up a delicious serve of biz success made specially for you.

Or you might like to ask for what you want by simply listing what you’d like to achieve.

Short version – this is where you DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU.

Because when you’re working towards YOUR vision for success, you’ll naturally feel more driven, motivated, excited and inspired to take action.


Because the power of your feelings will help drive you forward.

So take a little time to answer this question:

What does your successful dream biz look like?

You might like to think about the things you do, the milestones you’ve reached, the goals you’ve rocked.

Maybe you’d like to include the kinds of clients you work with, how it feels to be fully booked with dream clients and what ‘fully booked’ means to you.

You might choose to set some figures-based goals like how big you want your email list to be, or how many people you’d like to have visit your website each month.

Your vision might include a podcast, an online course, corporate or public speaking, webinars or social media.

And you might even include what a day, a week or a year in the life of your dream biz looks like. How do you work? Where do you work? Who do you work with? How does it feel?

Think about all the elements that equal success for you and write them down.

Last but not least, a loving note – it’s ok if your vision changes along the way.

Progress happens.

Change happens.

So just roll with what feels really good to you right now and enjoy the process.

And know that you can always revisit this activity to reconnect with (or reshape) your why.

It’s also a great activity to close out a year and welcome in a new one, or as part of a mid-year review so you can make sure your biz is flowing forward in a way that feels great and works best for you.


Download Your Free Fun Sheet

I’m a total notebook kinda gal, but I’ve whipped up an electronic fun sheet for you so you can fill it out online if that’s more your style.

Download it here.


Extra Resources & Goodness



My ‘Know Your Why’ theme song – When the Going Gets Tough (the tough get going) by Billy Ocean.


Because your why is like rocket fuel for your biz building gas tank. It’s what will drive you forward and keep you feeling motivated and connected to your goals.

When the going gets tough, it will keep you going!



Start With Why – Sarah Jensen

Know Your Why – Marie Forleo

The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte^

Start With Why – Simon Sinek^



Know your why and the how will come.


Share Your Thoughts

Let’s get the biz party started! Share why you want to start a business in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re working on your biz foundations, you might enjoy this post about how to build a personal brand if you’re brand new to business.
Photo by TwigyPosts

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