In the world of counseling, we are told to avoid asking clients any question that begins with the word, “Why…?” There is an implied judgment when we begin questions in this way. Clients may become defensive or feel the need to justify their feelings or behaviors.
I do believe, however, that we should all be able to answer “why” questions for ourselves. Our “why” is the foundation for our personal mission and purpose. It gives meaning to our lives and to our work. When we figure out our “why,” the what, how, when, and where for our decisions often become more clear. It becomes much easier to articulate our worth and speak to the value we can provide. Knowing our “why” gives us the drive and energy to make our dreams come true.
So, when a potential client asks, “Why should we choose you over another service provider? You will not become defensive. You will have a ready response that is filled with clear, compelling information. When we know our “why,” our words ring true and others can feel our passion for the work we do.
When a hiring manager asks, “Why should we hire you over another candidate?” You will not feel the need to justify your worth. You will offer a response that is confident without being boastful. And, you will be much better able to figure out for yourself if you even really want to work for this particular employer.
When we blow it, we should ask, “Why on earth did I do that?” Considering the underlying reasons for our blunders is the surest path to improving and recovering from set-backs and failures.
So, while I may not ask clients too many “why” questions, it seems quite clear to me that we all need to know our why. Work and life become much more fulfilling, decisions become easier, and our focus becomes clearer – when we are keenly aware of “why.”