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Find Your Why: 9 Ways to Find Purpose in Work For You & Your Team
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    Find Your Why: 9 Ways to Find Purpose in Work For You & Your Team

    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    Do you know your WHY?

    Finding a “why” is one of the most important parts to being motivated in your work, as noted in the popular book by Simon Sinek.

    As a leader, do you regularly help others realize how much their job helps make the world better? Do you know your WHY and are you able to use it to stay motivated?

    In this blog post, we will discuss 9 different tips for discovering your “WHY” in your work!

    What Does “Find Your Why” Mean?

    The first step to finding your WHY is understanding what the term means. “WHY” is your purpose, cause, or belief. It is the reason you do what you do.

    For example, a company’s WHY might be to “provide clean water for everyone.” This is their purpose, cause, or belief. The company exists to achieve this WHY.

    As an individual, your WHY might be to “help others be their best selves.” This is your purpose, cause, or belief. You do what you do because you want to help others achieve their potential.

    Find Your Why: How to Find Purpose in Work For You & Your Team

    Now that we’ve defined WHAT a WHY is, let’s discuss HOW you can find your WHY.

    How to Find Your Why: 9 Tips

    1. The first step is admitting that you don’t have all the answers and that’s okay! You can’t find your WHY if you’re not willing to be vulnerable and admit that you don’t know everything. Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities and look at your work with fresh eyes.  

    2. Talk to people who are doing similar work as you and ask them about their WHY. By learning about other people’s motivations, it will help give you some clarity on what might be motivating you.

    3. Try to remember a time when you were really passionate about your work. What was it about that particular time that made you feel so engaged?

    4. Write down a list of values that are important to you and see if there is any common thread between them. For example, if one of your values is “family,” think about how your work supports or allows you to spend time with your loved ones.

    5. When looking for a job, seek out companies whose values align with yours. If you share the same values as the company, it will be much easier to stay motivated in your work since you will believe in what the company is doing.

    6. If you’re finding it difficult to articulate your WHY, sometimes it can help to think about what gets you out of bed in the morning. Is it a passion for the work itself? A desire to help others? A sense of responsibility? Once you’ve pinpointed what gets you going each day, it will be easier to connect that feeling to your work.

    7. Alternatively, think about a time when you didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because of how uninterested or unhappy you were with your work. What was missing from that situation? Chances are, whatever was missing is a key part of your WHY.

    8. Take some time for yourself and reflect on what brings meaning into your life outside of work. Maybe it’s spending time with friends or family, volunteering, or working on a hobby project. Once you’ve identified what brings joy into your life outside of work, see how you can integrate those things into your professional life as well.

    Find Your Why: How to Find Purpose in Work For You & Your Team

    9. Lastly, don’t be afraid to change YOUR WHY as time goes on! Just because you have a certain motivation today doesn’t mean it will still hold true tomorrow. As we grow and change over time, so too will our motivations. So allow yourself the flexibility to change and adapt as needed!

    Now that you know how to begin (or continue) your journey toward finding a meaningful WHY in your work, how can you help your team find their WHY?

    Helping Your Team Find Their “Why”s

    People are motivated by different things. For some, it’s the desire to make a difference in the world. Others are driven by the challenge of the work itself. And still others find motivation in the people they work with.

    As a leader, it’s important to understand what motivates your team so that you can help them find a sense of purpose in their work. One way to do this is by helping them find their “WHY.”

    The “WHY” is the reason behind someone’s actions. It’s the motivating factor that drives them to do what they do. And when someone has a strong WHY, they’re more likely to be passionate and engaged in their work.

    There are a few ways you can help your team members find their WHY: 

    • Encourage them to think about what they’re passionate about and how their work ties into that. 
    • Help them understand how their work makes a difference in the world. 
    • Connect them with other people who share their passion for the work. 
    • Helps them see the challenges and opportunities in their work. 
    Find Your Why: How to Find Purpose in Work For You & Your Team

    When people have a clear sense of purpose for their work, they’re more likely to be passionate and engaged in what they’re doing. As a leader, you can help your team members find their WHY by encouraging them to think about what they’re passionate about, helping them understand how their work makes a difference in the world, connecting them with other people who share their passion for the work, and helping them see the challenges and opportunities in their work.

    It’s important to remember that everyone’s motivations are different and there is no wrong answer when it comes to discovering YOUR WHY. The most important part is that YOU are able to use YOUR WHY as a source of motivation in YOUR work and help your team find theirs!

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    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

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