Your big why - how to find your big personal why and your business why

This post is interesting because I wrote it 8 years ago. It's still as valid today as it was then which is why I'm reposting it today with some updated edits to reflect my new business

I have a very simple framework for business success, which is summarized by the word ABLE. Find out more about this in my podcast on how to get successful in business and life.

It stands for:

  • Awarenes
  • Belief
  • Lots of action
  • Evaluation

Today I want to dive a little deeper into the first step, the A: awareness

Awareness actually stands for 2 important things you need to do as your first step

You need to become aware of your thoughts on a daily basis as they create your results. This is the key to getting the results you want.

But it also stands for awareness of the big reason you want to start and get results with your business in the first place.

You want to know your big why

That is important, because creating a successful business can be tough.

It’s challenging as your brain will keep telling you that you can’t do it.

  • That it’s too taugh.
  • That you’re too tired to do this difficult task today and that you need a rest.
  • That others are doing something similar to you and that your work is not needed.

It’s in those moments that your big why will pull you through.

Knowing my big why has pulled me through many challenges in my business.

In fact the core of this article is 8 years old and created when I analyzed my own big why’s for the businesses I’ve started.

I first started doing this thought work when I stumbled upon the work of Simon Sinek.

He has now become quite famous with his book: Start with why and. the follow-up The power of why.

He also has one of the most popular TED talks that has been viewed more than 48 million times!

Although I haven’t read the book I’ve seen the talk and listened to various interviews with Simon.

What I liked about it, is that he came up with an answer on why I sometimes struggle with my business.

What he says is that all organisations operate on 3 levels:

  1. What you do
  2. How you do it
  3. Why you do it

Many of us are always thinking and focusing on the What and How and less about the Why.

That can be a problem as you often get stuck there.

I already mentioned some obstacles earlier:

  • Your mind says you’re not good enough
  • You don’t know how
  • You feel others can do it better
  • Your big to-do list completely overwhelms you and you want to hide in a cave.

That’s Why your need a big why

It can really give you that sense of purpose.

Another benefit it that it will also inspire others about your product or service.

So how do you find the big why?

The answer is quite obvious really.

You start asking yourself why.

Why do you have your business?

What is it that you want to achieve?

What is your purpose, cause, belief?

Why does the business exist and why should anyone care?

If you can find the why behind your business you will get:

  • A much better sense of why you are doing what you are doing, leading to higher motivation
  • A more inspiring product or service: if you can show people why this product or service is so important they will be more inspired to use it
  • A more motivated workforce who understands the why as well and is motivated by it

If you only concentrate on the WHAT and HOW, your business is out of balance. Examples of being out of balance are:

  • You are forced to play the price game
  • You are too obsessed about what competitors are doing
  • You are too stressed and think about work-life balance issues all the time
  • you have lost your passion or your sense of purpose is gone

Finding the clear why behind your business will give you that drive and sense of balance

Sinek offers Apple as an example of a company that knows its why well.

The company that has a clear purpose.

Instead of saying: “We make beautiful and great computers (the what), they are beautifully designed, simple to use and use-friendly (the how). Want to buy one?”

They say something like:

“Everything we do, we believe; we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently (the why).

The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

Which do you think is more compelling and inspiring?

So how do you find your why?

Think back to when you started your business.

In most cases you had a very clear why.

  • Perhaps you wanted more time with your kids
  • You wanted more freedom
  • You wanted to earn more money for your family
  • You wanted to make a contribution to people’s lives.

Or think about your passions when you were younger and get back in touch with your why.

If you have a clear why, you will not just chase market opportunities; you will find and solve problems

If you can find a reason for your business that’s more than just making money, people will want to be a part of it and will want to buy from you.

Here is an example of how I do this for my business.

Now of course I could focus just on how I help others, but let’s be honest, I also created the business for myself.

I think it’s important to list ALL the reasons you want what you want.

Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself.

Why did I start my coaching business?

Because I want to help and inspire women and be an example of what’s possible.

Because I want to be independent.

Because I want lots of freedom in my life.

But why is that important?

Because I feel that we need more strong, powerful women in the world.

Because I want to be able to make myself happy and make my own decisions and not rely on anything or anyone.

Because I don’t want to be constrained.

But why?

Because I think that women can make a big difference in the world. We need more women in leadership roles. Because I like to see more women being able to contribute in big ways and loving themselves enough that they can share their gifts with the world.

Because I want to be completely responsible for my own happiness.

Because I love to feel free and have all the options that life offers open to me without limitations.

Those are the statements I turn to when I’m not having a good day and the task ahead just feels too tough

And one of the most important things I ask myself when I’m not feeling comfortable on a particular day or doing a particular is this:

Am I willing to feel this feeling of discomfort to achieve my big why?

If your why is big enough, you'll always want to feel the feeling of discomfort, because you know that the discomfort of not achieving your big why will be more painful.

Knowing that you had the chance to tap into your full potential, but you didn’t because you couldn’t get over a difficult task or couldn’t manage your feelings properly, will be more painful.

I have created whys for my businesses too:


I believe in the saying that if you look good, you feel good. Feeling great about yourself and the way you look is an important part of life.  Yet, many women over 40 find it difficult to dress and style themselves as they struggle with their changing bodies or changing style or low self esteem.  

By teaching them simple tips and tricks to find their style and tuned into their personality, can help women get back on track. Our articles, guides and courses aim to inspire them to be creative with their fashion and love their body and themselves just as they are. Resulting in a more confident and happy YOU.

40Plusstyle helps women over 40 to love themselves just as they are!


I believe that women over 40 will feel stronger, be more independent and feel happier when they can tap into their true potential.

I feel that untapped potential can lead to resentment. My mission is to give women the confidence and drive so they will be able to tap into their potential and realize their dreams.

I feel that working for yourself and starting a business is one of the best things you can do to tap into your potential and also get the independence and freedom to create the life you want for you and your family.

It will enable you to get full control of your life and the process of running it will make you stronger, braver and more capable.

Strong, independent women are an important force for change which can bring about important changes for the world as a whole.

With my podcast, articles and programs I aim to create a strong community of driven women and give them all the tools they need to get confidence and the belief in themselves to make their dreams a Reality.

Sylvia Vandelogt helps women tap into their fullest, truest potential.

So start asking yourself WHY.

Why do you do what you do?

Why is it important to you?

And keep asking yourself why until you get to the core of it.

If you want to practice this further or see some of the answers other women have come up with you can still take yourself through my challenge:

If you’re intrigued by the idea of starting a business or want some more ideas on how you can make your current one a success, I’m organising a new free training How to use your passion and skills and create a business you love. You can go to to sign up.