What is your “Why” statement?

7 Replies

I hear all the time in seminars, books, and even talking with mentors to write down my “Why”. They provide the example Darren Hardy uses of walking a plank for $20 anyone would do it easily. Then they say if the plank was at the top of two skyscrapers then there is no way you would do it for $20. If however, you child was on the other skyscraper and the building was burning you would run across and save them for no money at all. They ask what changed? And the answer is your “Why” (Darren Hardy says it much better than me, but hopefully you have heard the story or similar). I have a why statement and its true its all the reasons why I would do something, but when I read it I don’t get all passionate. My main why is financial independence so I can spend time with my wife and future kids (none yet) and help those less fortunate (My actual Why statement is several sentences – this is just a summary). I feel like my “Why” statement isn’t that powerful, although it is the true reason why I work so hard and never give up.

I tried searching online for some good “why” statements, but I couldn’t find any, only mission statements.Hence, the reason for this post is, do you have a “why” statement that you would like to share? Is it supposed to make you feel passionate every time you read it? I am reading it every morning and night, but feel like I need to change it to make me more passionate when I read it. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance!


@John Hyatt

The "fear" of being stuck in a day job has driven me most of my life.  Having a day job didn't bother me, I just didn't want a day job for the wrong reason my reason was to live, learn and leverage my W-2 to buy income producing assets.

My whole life I have been curious asking lots of questions and wondering what makes people click down the road.  During my day job career I literally saw grown men making +$150K per year get laid off and not have any plan.  My conclusion working in a day job has been we are owed nothing, we are hired guns, we are only owed the last two weeks of pay and seniority means little.  Wake up everyday blazing guns.


I coach real estate investors and do my own deals.

My "why" is to help people make a profit in real estate investing and not waste time" and also run a profitable business that allows me free time.

As a serious past time, I coach boys lacrosse and it takes a lot of time, like 20 hours a week in the spring, and 15 hours in the winter.  I have to be on the field at 2:30 pm sometimes.

I hate corporate jobs and working for others, I would rather work for myself.  I have been paid 1099 instead of W-2 since 1986.  That is a long time.

My "why" is my lifestyle, I like traveling and seeing my friends overseas.  The internet allows me to travel overseas and coach my students at the same time.

Reasons are like underwear. You need to have a stockpile of them so you can rotate them out once they start to get all smelly and gross.

I don't use "financial independence" as a why. I tried it out, but I think that the phrase "financial independence" is just too impersonal to resonate with me. Besides, it sounds too business-y.

So I keep my why's simple. I pretty much treat them like I'm a kid writing a letter to Santa Clause.

I want to learn to fly airplanes.

I want to do work that I enjoy.

I want to have more control over my future.

I want to do work that gets me somewhere.

I want to meet cool people.

I want to build one of those kegerators out of the freezer like I saw on that YouTube video once.

I want to buy my mom the bed and breakfast that she said she wanted to start.

I want to be able to go to a freaking doctor's appointment at 1 pm without having to arrange for a substitute (I teach high school right now).

Sure, most of my reasons are selfish, and I'm okay with that. None of my reasons are in any specific format, and I'm okay with that, too. I don't need anyone to tell me if they're good reasons or not because the only person actually responsible for carrying them out has already approved them (me).

Hope that helps!

@Brian Gibbons :

Glad you liked it. I'm trying to be a little careful on this site because my metaphors tend to lean towards the crass side at times.

@John Hyatt this is a great post.  I think that our Why statement should drive us but I don't think that our why statement is a one time thing.  Sure there may be some foundation that doesn't change.  i.e. "To provide clean affordable housing to people".  But the other factors are more like a living document.  You mention part of your why is to spend time with your future kids.  Well, you wouldn't walk across the skyscrapers for future kids would you?  So to me it seems like you are trying harder to create a why than perhaps you need to.  It doesn't have to be such a static large benefit to society and everyone else kind of why.  One of my why's is - I want to travel 2 to 4 months out of the year.  That has nothing to do with anyone but me.  But I find that when I travel and learn about myself and get perspective on values and culture that it changes who I am and my why and what I value. 

So maybe make some lists -- why's for you, for your wife, your community, your future kids and all that good stuff and make your why statement a living document.  Update it as often as you feel the need to.  If it doesn't drive you - re-evaluate.

@Travis H. made some really great points -- he mentioned his why seems selfish.  But I challenge that in that if what you are doing makes you happier then it is a benefit for all that you know and interact with.  

I hope that helps.

@Travis H. I really appreciate your response to this post!  I am putting together my business plan and got stuck on the "why" so I have been reading many forum posts.  I was feeling like I had to come up with one amazing, all-encompassing "why", but really there are so many different reasons I have to invest in real estate.  Thank you for showing there are "business-y" and also very personal reasons we all have to enter this business and they are all important enough to put in the plan.

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