What’s Your Big Why?

What’s Your Big Why?

A while ago, I read Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”. In it, he looks at how great businesses like Apple inspire action and loyalty in both their employees and customers through first and foremost communicating the reason “Why” they are in business rather than the “What” or the “How”. Because before they “buy” the thing that you do or the way that you do it your customers buy into the Reason Why you do it in the first place.

Are you sharing YOUR reason why you do what you do – on your website, when you give talks or deliver workshops online, and anywhere else you have the opportunity to do that?

What 8 years in business has taught meWhen I speak to new audiences I talk about authenticity and integrity as my highest values. And I also talk about my own “Big Why” which for me is about personal growth and self-actualisation through this journey of self-employment. Now, I get that self-actualisation is a bit of a high falutin’ term to use. But what I mean is that I believe that part of my purpose in life is to learn and grow. And I believe that the journey of being in business for ourselves is one of the greatest journeys of personal and spiritual growth we can take.

Low self-worth? Lack of confidence? Fear of public speaking? Fear of sales? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Funny about money? A little voice (or maybe quite a loud one!) telling you that you are not good enough, young enough, old enough, attractive enough, educated enough to follow what your heart is calling you to do?

If we are to succeed with our business, then we also have to be willing to take the journey of overcoming all of these internal obstacles — and I believe it’s impossible to really succeed in business without growing immeasurably as a person. I want this growth for myself — and I also want it for all of my clients.

And because I’m clear about my ‘Big Why’ it gives me a point to return to. Something to motivate me on the days when things get tough or that little voice shouts a bit too loudly.

So knowing your Big Why not only motivates your clients to want to work with you — because they like who you are and what you stand for. But it also helps to motivate you when the going gets tough, in a way that focusing just on financial rewards or short term gain doesn’t.

So what is your Big Why?

If you’re not clear on your Big Why here are some questions to get you started.

  • What is the difference you want to make in the world?
  • What would you do with your days if you already had millions in the bank?
  • What is the biggest change you’d like to see on the planet?
  • What legacy would you like to leave for future generations?
  • Is there something you’ve experienced that you want to make sure others don’t have to go through?
  • What do you believe is the purpose of life, or your purpose on the planet?
  • If you could use just one word to summarise who you are and what you stand for what would it be? This might be freedom, love, peace, security, joy, growth, learning.

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Please leave a comment as I would love to hear your thoughts


  1. Loliya Harrison on February 15, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    This email has come just at the right time for me. That’s exactly what I am trying to find again. Somewhere along this journey of having my own business I’ve lost me and my why. It took a trip to Costa Rica to help me realise that.

    • Catherine on February 15, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Loliya, what you are saying is actually really common and it’s one of the things I talk about a lot – how a business so often starts as a passion but then all the “shoulds” and “musts” and things people feel they have to do take over and before you know it you’ve fallen out of love with and lost your way. It’s why I put such a focus on creating a business you love, and ensuring that you enjoy all the “elements” that go into it so you can be in flow rather than pushing, and doing what works for you rather than just what you are “told” you should do. I hope you’ll soon refind your why … even find a new one. Sometimes we think we’ve lost our why when it’s just that the “why” has changed – we’ve evolved past the old one and are now ready for a new one.

  2. Andrew Cheffings on February 15, 2023 at 10:08 am

    Really like this Big Why quiz, really stimulating!

  3. Philippa on February 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Great book Catherine, have just finished reading it myself. But what is my why? it keeps changing but fundamentally I think my why is simply to make a difference, help others grow and be/find themselves through their chosen medium, activity or job. That could be why, how and what all together.

    • Catherine on February 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Philippa, that sounds like a pretty good Why to me. If it is strong enough to get you out of bed in the mornings and keep on going on the days when it feels a bit tough then that is all the Why you need :)

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