I have the opportunity to work with some very high-end entrepreneurs – I’m talking entrepreneurs earning 7 figures income running a personal service business. By all measure, these are high achievers.

This is why I was really taken aback when one of my client told me at the end of our coaching session, “This is very nice Sara, we have procedures and systems in place, I know where I’m going with my business, my team is aligned and motivated…but why am I doing this? I don’t need more income. I don’t need a bigger business or more clients. Why am I really doing this?”

This question certainly hit home. As entrepreneurs we’re often on a treadmill, moving faster and faster from one idea or project to another, getting more clients, increasing revenue, adding-on team members, etc. But when we really step back and ask ourselves, “Why am I doing all of this?”, reality is, if you’re not totally clear about the purpose of what you’re doing, you have no chance of winning what is truly important to you. At the core of it, your purpose defines success.

It is the fundamental reference of all your investment of time and energy, from deciding to build your own business to designing a form or a procedure to run the business. Ultimately you can’t feel good about a team meeting unless you know what the purpose of the meeting is. If you want to sleep well at night, you better have clarity as to why you just hired this new employee. And you don’t really know whether or not your business plan is any good until you hold it up against the success standard that you define by answering the question, “Why do I need a business plan?”

Often the only way to make a hard decision is to come back to the purpose – it’s one step back to take five steps forward

What are you really trying to accomplish? I’m often surprised by how many people have forgotten “why” they’re doing what they’re doing – and by how quickly a simple question such as “Why are you doing that?” can get them back on track.

The litmus test: What? Who? How? 3 steps to define the purpose. Before starting on a project or a task, ask yourself and your team these questions:


  • What are we really trying to accomplish here?
  • Why are we doing this?
  • Is this bringing us closer to our ultimate goal?
  • Is this the best use of our time and money?


  • Who can step in and help us do it more efficiently and with greater results?
  • Who can we ask to contribute to this project/idea (can we outsource)?


  • What are the steps that need to take place to make this happen?
  • What are our deadlines?
  • What is the first step we can take in the next 36 hours?
  • Is there another way we can accomplish this (easier, faster, less expensive)?
  • How will we measure the success of this project/idea?

Let’s face it, if there’s no good reason to be doing something, it’s not worth doing it.  Let your “why” define your “what”.

I invite you to try this litmus test in the upcoming days and weeks and let me know your outcome. It is always with great pleasure that I read your comments. You can reach me at Sara.Gilbert@Strategist.cc and follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook


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