Easily Write Your Why Statement...and Here's Why

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Have you ever tried to write your "Why Statement" and felt like you might have well been trying to write a sonnet in iambic pentameter? For many Financial Representatives (FRs), they know this is an important exercise; however, it feels lofty and intimidating. It is important, though, so let's figure it out.

Try our Why coaching exercise to quickly get you to the heart of what matters most to you.

According to author and speaker Simon Sinek, your why is "the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do." It's vitally important that you know your Why for two reasons.

First, your own motivation can come from the intrinsic belief that your work matters. That's a powerful motivator that you draw from within. If you hold the power to your own motivation, you will not be reliant upon external motivators such as carrots and sticks (trips, ribbons, rankings, bonuses, board of reviews, minimums, RACE, etc). Nor will you rely upon your fear to drive you. Fear is a fuel that will run you hard and burn you out.

The second reason your Why matters is because of what Sinek calls "the Golden Circle." Imagine a small circle with the word Why in it. Next, imagine a medium circle encasing this circle with the word How inside of it. Finally, imagine one large circle containing both circles that has the word What in it. If your motivation comes from the outside, this is how you will appear to clients:

What: We write financial plans that address both risk and wealth accumulation.

How: We learn about our clients' needs, create custom plans and implement them.

Why: You should work with us.

Sinek's Golden Circle demonstrates the power of Why by inverting the questions and starting from the inside with Why:

Why: With everything we do, we address all of our clients' financial needs today, tomorrow and in the future. We believe in integrated planning and providing our clients with best-in-class risk and investment solutions. We do this as financial planners. Want to work with Northwestern Mutual?

How: We learn about our clients' needs, create custom plans and implement them.

What: We write financial plans that address both risk and wealth accumulation.

Starting with Why instead of What appeals to our human feelings before our logic. Qualified Suspects feel compelled to do something such as take a Fact Finder meeting with you because they feel inspired to do so (you have appealed to the limbic brain responsible for feelings such as trust and loyalty, behavior and decision making—the "why" and "how"). Then, in the Fact Finder, the prospective client will experience your Why from a rational perspective, as well (now you have appealed to the neocortex that regulates rational and analytical thought—the "what").

So, since your Why Statement is clearly important to attract people to your practice, how do you write one painlessly? Invert it!

Imagine this scenario...for a complex set of reasons your practice is no more. Someone is standing in your office right now holding boxes to help you pack up your things and walk you out. Today is the last day you will ever be in your office again, see your colleagues and staff, work with your clients, grab coffee in the break room or even walk in the door. When the door closes behind you this last time, your life as you knew it at Northwestern Mutual is over...no ribbons, Annual Meeting, recognition dinners, trips, fun times with clients, laughs with other FRs or happy hours with staff. Your days of Granum are over.

What would you most dearly miss? Write a list of the ten things that your heart would yearn for:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8)

9)

10)

To give you an example, I will write my own.

Top ten things I would most dearly miss if I could no longer be a life coach to the people of Northwestern Mutual as of right now:

1) Having the honor and privilege to have a coaching relationship with people who are making a positive impact in the world and watching them crush goals they couldn't have even dreamed of having before coaching.

2) Holding space for my clients' private thoughts, fears and challenges.

3) Helping my clients find answers within and learn how to do so on their own.

4) Asking my clients to dig deep even if it gets raw and watching their pain dissolve.

5) Forming amazing relationships with clients, staff, vendor partners, staff at Northwestern Mutual.

6) Participating in the events and culture of Northwestern Mutual.

7) Challenging myself to create a practice that can grow to serve more people. Growing and healing myself.

8) Supporting the livelihood of the people I employ in a joyful, collaborative and empowered way.

9) Knowing that our work makes a difference based on the feedback I receive.

10) Having pride in being an entrepreneur and building a thriving company.

Next, INVERT your most dearly missed list and transform it into a Why Statement:

I have the honor and privilege of having coaching relationships with people who make a positive impact in the world. Watching my clients crush the business and achieve goals they could not have believed in or thought of before coaching is exhilarating! Holding space for my clients' private thoughts, fears and challenges is sacred to me. I strive to help my clients find answers within and learn how to do so on their own. I ask my clients to dig deep even if it gets raw and share their relief in watching their pain dissolve. I get to form amazing relationships with clients, staff, vendor partners and staff at Northwestern Mutual. Participating in the powerful events and culture of Northwestern Mutual is something that I treasure. I get to experience the powerful embrace of an incredible company. I love to challenge myself to create a practice that can grow to serve more people. Just as I challenge my own clients to grow, I invest in my own growth, development and healing as well as my team's. I feel fulfilled when I am able to support the livelihood of the amazing team I employ in a joyful, collaborative and empowered way. Knowing that our work makes a difference based on the feedback I receive fills me up every day. I am proud of being an entrepreneur and having built a thriving company that's still up and coming! Watch out world.

Now it's your turn.

Coaching Tip Once you have completed the exercise, how do you implement it? I recommend making a recording and listening to it daily. It may also inspire you to print it out and frame it. Revisit it regularly to stoke your inner fire and attract people who you love to work with to your practice.