Know your Why


Over the years I have heard people talk about knowing your “Why,” but this video probably does the best job I have ever seen in letting you “see and hear” what that means. Watch the video and then we will dive deeper.

This video inspires me to ask, “So, what is my Why?”

I am going to think out loud with you now about my “What” and “Why.”

Talents & Gifts

We are all born with God-given talents, and while humility is a great virtue, it is okay for us to acknowledge the talents we have been given. The key to acknowledging this while keeping our humility intact is remembering these are all gifts from our Creator – we just get to enjoy them and share them with others.

When we believe in Jesus, we also receive spiritual gifts. These gifts may enhance our talents and make us capable of doing we could not do before we believed.

One way to determine our true gifts and talents is to ask a few close friends within our community to tell us what they see in us. It is important to ask people who care enough to tell us the truth.  We’ve all endured the American Idol auditions where “Mama told me I could sing” – Mama is either deaf or a liar.

What & Why

Both gifts and talents are the “tools” we use to live our purpose. However, they only enable us to know our “What” – singing, making people laugh, lifting people up with our words, and so much more. Many people can do similar things to what we can do. It is our “Why” – our purpose, combined with our “What” – talents and gifts, that makes our contribution to this world unique.

One more critical piece is knowing that the real purpose for our “What” and “Why” is for the betterment of the community around us. Talents and gifts that are just used for our own personal gain will never have a lasting impact. It may be impressive to watch or hear, but it will not have any lasting influence.

With that background in place, let me challenge you to discover the “Why”, to your “What”.

For instance, here are some things I do – my “What”:

  • Public speaking
  • Writing
  • Catalyst for Community building
  • Mentor/Friend

I can do these things without really knowing my “Why”, but when I know my “Why” it will greatly enhance the effectiveness of “What” I do.

“Why” do I do these things?

I believe…

  • Our Father God is deeply in love with everyone He created and wants them to know it
  • This world will beat us up on a daily basis and we need to be reminded how much we are loved
  • God’s grace covers us completely when we believe in Jesus, and therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
  • Many are burdened by shame, and God removes that shame and frees us to live a life that is free to love

Given this truth, what is my Why?

My “Why” is to share with people who struggle – which is all of us – the Good News that Jesus brings the true freedom we all desperately desire, and this freedom allows us to love and lift up everyone around us.

We often ask each other, “What do you do?” My usual answer is, “I am an accountant,” but that’s not a very complete answer. That is just what I do to put my kids through school and food on the table. My “Why” answer, for work, should be, “I help people run successful small businesses by giving them the information they need to make wise decisions. I also help individuals pay the lowest legal amount of income tax.” That’s my work “Why.”

My big “Why” is to share life with people and continually remind them of the true freedom they have in the Good News of Jesus – the Gospel. They, in turn, remind me this is also true for me.

Remember, as Micheal said in the video, “When you know your ‘Why’ your ‘What’ has more impact because you’re walking in or toward your purpose.


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4 thoughts on “Know your Why

  1. I needed this.

    When I was taking acting and doing shows/films, we would constantly have to understand our “why.” To us, it was understanding our character’s motivation behind walking across the set and getting a cup of water.

    Just knowing our “what” (mechanical acting), we could hit our marks, walk across the set, and pick up a cup.
    But, if the what is all we had, it would be a generally lifeless experience for both the actor, and the audience.

    What if my character was walking across the set to get a cup because he was choking and needed water? That would change his stride.
    What if he was getting a cup because he was drunk and couldn’t find his other cup of alcohol? That would change how he moved.
    What if he wasn’t getting the cup for the cups’ sake, but because he had an engagement ring hidden in there, and this was moments before a proposal?

    Knowing our specifically-defined motivation behind our actions- the Why before the What- colors the entire experience with life. And it makes the audience, or the relationships we have, much more vivid and enjoyable to experience.


    1. I agree, Phil. This idea of knowing “why” we do what we do makes a huge difference in the way we live our lives. The tragedy is so many have never taken the time to think about their true purpose for living, what Socrates called the “unexamined life.”

      Knowing my “why” is what makes getting up to face another day worthwhile! It provides a tangible meaning to my life.


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