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Tell Me Why?

A lot of people, and companies, start with the “what” when making decisions. But it’s those “why” questions that are the most useful.

In my last column in March, I talked about the “who” in your business or work: Who do you work for?  

Now, I’d like to ask you about your why.

But, first, I want to share some news with you. The year 2016 was a meaningful one for me: my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, and I also started a business. In the midst of big life changes, I did a lot of soul-searching to determine the next step on my professional journey. Would I keep the business as a side gig, or would I leave my corporate position—and all of the benefits and stability—to focus full-time on this new consulting business?

Meet the newest member of Luann's family: Isabel

That soul searching involved a lot of “why” questions. Why do I get excited about certain opportunities? Why did I pick this career path? Why does starting my own business feel so right? Why now?

As I’ve begun to work with clients as a marketing consultant and founder of Socially Professional, I have noticed that some are still figuring out the answers to these questions. And that, sometimes, those answers change over time.

• Why have you chosen this kind of work?

• Why do your customers work with you?

• Why are you different?

• Why do you get up every day?

A lot of people—and companies—start with the “what” in their lives. 

• You want to buy my product or service because that’s what I have to offer. 

* I’m a sales person because it’s what I know how to do.

• I took this job because it was what was available at the time.

If I focused on the “what” in my case, I would have hesitated to make a big change—especially with a new family member. There were many good aspects about my previous position, a lot of “what” that I would be giving up. But when I stopped to ask myself the “Why,” I discovered that:

• I love helping professionals use technology to build or enhance their marketing strategy in a way that they might not have considered.

• There are so many different ways that I can grow in social media and digital marketing, and I can pass the benefit of that growth on to my clients.

• There’s a need for my services, and I feel good when I can help people and organizations solve problems.

• Interacting with people across cultures and geography is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work, and I can work with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The “Why” questions can be pretty deep, but they will help you to understand your motivations better—or they can remind you about why your career is a good fit, after all.

Meeting my daughter in December helped me realize that asking myself “why” is a really important step in the process.

Tell us your “why” in the comments!



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