The other day my husband got a question from one of his email coaching clients about her mission. She said she knew what niche she wanted to work in, but she was stuck with her “Why.”
You may have heard this before… that you should have a Why… a purpose, a mission, a reason for doing what you do. The conversation I had with Tony about this woman’s struggle with her Why got me thinking… and it’s time for me to be honest with you.
Frankly, I struggled with my Why for years. Because while I knew what my Why was, I thought it wasn’t noble enough. I was extremely judgmental of my Why, because it wasn’t something that sounded as good as, “To provide an amazing life for my family and be there for my kids so they don’t come home from school to an empty house.” This is the most common Why I heard entrepreneurial women say… and while it’s noble, it couldn’t be my Why because, well, I don’t have kids! And saying I wanted to be home for my cat just sounded… weird. (Though anyone who’s met Brat the Cat would tell you she’s very needy. lol)
I tried to make my Why more noble. I said it was freedom… time to travel and freedom to set my schedule the way I wanted it to be so others could see it was possible and that their dreams could become reality, too. I tried to make my Why all about watching my clients’ messages launch into the world and being a part of making that happen. I even tried on the Why of spreading my message of empowering others to recognize their stories were worth telling.
All noble Whys… none felt right.
None of them was true to my real Why. I made up these other Whys because I thought my real Why was selfish and narrow-minded. What is that Why? Making money. That’s it. It’s that simple. I started my business for profit.
And somehow I thought that meant others would judge me as being a greedy bitch… when that’s not who I was at all… but I also judged myself in that way. So I went on a quest to dive deep into my Why and discover why it was so strong.
It wasn’t until I went to a Zig Ziglar conference and heard Tamara Lowe speak that clarity dawned on my Why. She started her motivational talk about the common Whys and she brought up a good point. For those whose Why are their kids… what happens when the kids are grown and gone? Is that Why big enough to keep the business running, to keep doing what they were doing, if their mission was simply to provide finances and time for their families?
At this point, I eased onto the edge of my seat and hung on her every word.
Then she said that the noblest of Whys was to… wait for it… make money. I literally threw myself back in my chair and said out loud, “WHAT?!” at the same time as the collective gasp from the audience filled the room. Here I was feeling sorry for having such a self-centered Why, and here was this international best-selling author and amazing motivational speaker telling me that my Why was noble!? I thought I heard wrong, until she continued.
She said how families grow, and clients come and go, but the fact is money does make the world go round. Money is what makes the difference between a family having shelter and being homeless. Money is what enables food to be on the table. Money is what supports charities to continue their missions. Money is what blesses people who need a miracle. Money is what gives kids toys at Christmas… who otherwise may not have gotten anything at all.
MONEY MAKES MAGIC HAPPEN.
It was in that moment that I embraced my Why. It was bigger than just being rich. It was having the power and ability to make a difference in the world at my choosing. It wasn’t driving a fancy car (though I do love my little sports car) as much as it was getting to give friends rides in that car and spend time enjoying great weather and treating them to awesome ice cream. It wasn’t to build a bigger house so much as to build a space our families could all gather together at holidays… And any other time of the year.
My Why is noble!
Once this realization hit, I changed how I did business. I changed how I thought about money. No longer was I guilt-tripping myself for making money and having a fledgling business. Instead I embraced my talent to make money and dove in with both feet. No longer did I listen to the people who said I “should” have a different Why, because making money was selfish. Not to say those other Whys aren’t noble—they are. My point here is, I judged myself for being a self-centered asshole when in truth all I wanted was the ability to give without restraint to whomever I wanted whenever I pleased.
So now I ask you… what is your Why? Don’t just copy mine… As my husband told his client, your Why should be yours. It should be unique to your life, your mission, your loves, your passion, your desires and what drives you to do what you do. Despite what you may think or want, nobody can determine your Why for you except YOU. And once you do figure it out, embrace it and live it.
Because nothing is more satisfying than knowing every decision you make lines up with your purpose for being on this planet.
If you’d like to brainstorm your Why and how it can impact your projects and your overall goals, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one session with me at KristenOnDemand.com. I look forward to helping you gain clarity on your Why and applying it to everything you create!
Therese KayMarch 19, 2019
I love this! My why encompasses a few things but “making money” was certainly one of them and this really helped to ease the guilty feelings you described. Thank you for that!!
Rachel HelbergMay 11, 2018
Sorry Kristen, but I am stealing your “why.”
I have been struggling with the same feelings. You made me realize that my “why” is all about the money…
1) Money to help my family (sister & Grandson in my household) live a better life. One where we can take mini-vacations when we want without worrying about the homestead.
2) Money to help my extended family and friends (that we also call family because they are very close friends) with their needs.
3) Money to give back – first to Shriners for Children as they helped my daughter to walk and have a semi-normal life (which she would not have done except for their generosity).
So, I agree whole-heartedly with you…it does take money to make the world go around, and having enough to share is what it is all about!
Thank you for helping me to not feel guilty for believing this!
Kristen JoyMay 24, 2018 Rachel Helberg
You’re welcome Rachel! I love that we share the same “why!”
Christine MeyerFebruary 13, 2017
You said, “when in truth all I wanted was the ability to give without restraint to whomever I wanted whenever I pleased”.
That is your Why, Your Purpose. A very noble one.
The making of money is the vehicle that makes you able to achieve that.
Joanna bransonFebruary 11, 2017
YES!! Making money is my #1 why? I’ve realized that until I have the freedom that money affords, I will not be able to focus on my other why?s. Freedom of time and other resources will come with money, so that I can use the time and resources to serve my target audience.
AnneFebruary 10, 2017
*STANDS & APPLAUDS* Thank you Kristen. This is a great read and a great reminder that I own my life choices. How silly I would ever question my reasoning. But we allow ourselves to get pushed in corners with our opinions so often don’t we? This reminds me of the two words my friend Sharon uses for strength, NEVER AGAIN!
When I die and am gasping for air on my bed my last words just might be, “I did it for the money, AND LOOK WHERE IT TOOK US.” Seriously, what a freeing article. Awesome!
Shirley KufeldtFebruary 10, 2017
Money is the result of your efforts. Great efforts. Lots of money.
Another scenario: Great efforts. Not so much money.
Marketing is the key to both!
saundraFebruary 9, 2017
I have a couple of why’s and I am not certain one of them is even as noble as making money – which is one of my “why’s”. I would love to be able to be free from a restrictive job which holds definitive hours and hold me hostage to certain demands that I really could do without. Don’t get me wrong – I probably have the perfect job but I am ready to be done with it. The real reason I want to write a book, create journals, make fun cups, etc. is because (and I just said it) I want to! Since I was in high school and wrote my first story that won 1st place in the school contest, I have dreamed of being a real author. I do have a “noble” reason for one book – because of my own life experiences, I have learned a lot about the extreme need for GOOD communication among and between people. I have learned some valuable lessons I would love to share. People need to understand real communication in such a way as to better their own relationships. Anyway, here are my reasons and besides, it all sounds fun – even with the work involved.
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GeriFebruary 8, 2017
I have spent the last couple of years really digging into (and training on) what it means to discover your WHY.
I’d say that your WHY is “make a difference in the world at my choosing” and even more specifically “the ability to give without restraint to whomever I wanted whenever I pleased”. As you said above, that is WHY you make money. Making money is WHAT you do to enable your WHY, which is Contribute.
My WHY is Mastery. I am driven to learn new things and driven to share that knowledge with others. That is WHY I do everything I do. Like you, I also want to make a lot of money because that gives me the time to learn new things and share them with others.
When you say “I want to make a lot of money because ..l.”, the because is your WHY.
Dr. Gary Sanchez developed the 9 WHY’s and the method for discovering them based on the work of Simon Sinek (who he studied with). http://whyinstitute.com/ has an online quiz to discover your WHY.
Dr. Gary’s work is a starting point. It took me a couple of years to really grok what “Mastery” meant to me and how I express it in my life.
So for anyone reading this: Working with someone like Kristin to really figure it out is a very helpful thing. So use the app as a starting point, then I would take her up on the offer to help you develop your WHY.
Leslie CovingtonFebruary 8, 2017
Thanks, Kristen! A lot of what you said about money is what I want. Plus the freedom of doing what I want when I want.
CarolFebruary 8, 2017
BAM! Yes, that’s my Why as well. At the age of 60, I am working to establish both a retirement fund and ongoing passive income that will keep going well into my later years.
CarrieFebruary 8, 2017
Thanks for this – there are so many angles coming at me these days making me feel guilty over everything I want to do that I just can’t take it anymore. I needed this today. I probably give away too many author audits and website work, but what I make so far allows me to keep going. Nice words and compliments feel nice, but that $$ gives me confidence to keep working at what I love.
Going to go work on my own ‘why’ blog now – it’s time.
John AbbottFebruary 8, 2017
That was always MY WHY as well. But I was told it was NOT SPECIFIC enough, so it was NOT good. SO I LISTENED and FLOUNDERED. But now I’m claiming MY why back again. So thanks for the post. And NO MORE Floundering for ME! I’m OFF to make some MEGA BUCKS-because THAT is MY WHY!
Robb DeucetFebruary 8, 2017
Well, I like money. Money is good, but it isn’t my goal in life. It is a means to an end. Money buys ice cream which make me happy. Money keeps my house in repair which keeps my family happy. Money allows my wife and I to travel which makes us both happy.
So, is my “why” money or is it happiness? I write because I enjoy it, even if it doesn’t bring me money. My cousin goes on missionary medicine trips to Africa because he feels happy for doing it. He pays for the privilege.
I might need money to be happy but I also need oxygen. I don’t conside oxygen to be noble.