3 Reasons NOT To Find Your “Why” (And One Time When It Makes Sense)

Cathy Goodwin
3 min readMar 25

Another piece of content creation advice you can safely ignore.

Modified from image by Kari Shea on Unsplash.

"Find your why," they said. "People don't buy you. They buy your why."

Frankly, I've never gotten this. I buy competence and skill. I buy problem-solving.

I don't know the "why" of anyone I work with...designer, tax preparer, financial advisor, house cleaner, even my veterinarian. They're competent and easy to work with.

Clients sometimes tell me they're frustrated. They've been encouraged to "find your way" and they're stuck.

"What do I say when someone asks me why?" they ask.

"Change the subject," I usually suggest. "Tell a success story instead."

3 reasons not to "find your why"

(1) We don’t have a why…that we know of.

Many of us fell into a career or business. We were rewarded. We enjoyed what we were doing. Maybe we liked our associates or we gloried in the benefits. Positive reinforcement generates momentum.

Eventually, it was time to move on...after 3 months, 3 years, or a lifetime. Some people just get tired of doing the same thing. Sometimes the environment changes: if you were in "article marketing" twenty years ago, you're doing something else now.

(2) The focus on finding your why can actually be counterproductive.

When you're constantly searching for some grand purpose or motivation, you may overlook the smaller, more immediate reasons for doing things.

When I was finishing my last year of graduate school, I planned a big celebration party. I wanted to have the party on campus, in our simple doctoral student lounge, right after the graduation ceremony. That thought kept me motivated to finish my dissertation while teaching full-time at a state university.

Sometimes the small things help you get through the "next step" phrase. And yes, it was a great party, right on schedule.

(3) It takes attention away from your target market and their motivation.

Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story. http://cathygoodwin.com