Although you’ve defined the 4 Quadrants that are most important to you as you build your business, you’re not yet truly ready to embark on your career or set your goals for the year.

You’re still missing a key component, which is to answer the question: WHY do you work at all?


Your WHY can be called many things. Author Jeff Goins talks about finding your story, and many other authors/speakers use the term purpose, but they’re all referring to the same thing. My why is:

I help business owners like you run a better business, get better clients, and be more effective with their time so they don’t have to work all the time.

That statement is written out and posted on the wall behind my monitors so that every day I can remember exactly why I do what I do. Some of you reading this have not yet defined your WHY, so your question now is: How do I figure out WHY I work?

If you’ve been reading long enough then you may have read my post with 10 questions to help you figure out your why, but even then maybe you need more help digging into your work and figuring out WHY you do it.

Here are my top four resources to help you think through and discover the purpose to your work.

Start with WHY

The best starting resource is Simon Sinek’s book Start with WHY. While the concept of knowing why you work may not be new, Sinek really pushes the conversation to the forefront.

Sinek goes deeper than just defining why you work though — pointing out that you should be applying the same concept to your marketing as well. See more in his great TED talk.

If you want to start the journey to find your WHY, start here.

The Art of Work

Jeff Goins is a writer and speaker based in Franklin, Tennessee. His book The Art of Work is a great read if you want to find some purpose in what you do. Goins encourages his readers to search through their own personal story to find the purpose in their lives.

When I did this I continually came back to stories where I helped others achieve goals, often over months of work. Even when I had similar success at the same time, I’ve always been more excited to see others achieve their goals.

Read my review of The Art of Work.

48 Days

Dan Miller is one of the best people I’ve heard to help you find a job that fits you well. He has a podcast and a full community you can engage with to help navigate the world of finding what unique gifts you have to bring to serve others.

While Dan thinks that entrepreneurship is an amazing business model, he doesn’t get hung up on it. He wants to help you find the best place that suits your unique gifts.


I’ve known about Donald Miller the author for a number of years, but it was only recently that I came to know him as a marketing expert. Storybrand is that place where he can help you sort out the story you want to tell clients and apply it to your business.

Your clients are going to be compelled to purchase from you if you can communicate your WHY with your marketing material, so check out his podcast and sign up for his video course to learn more about how to pull your story into your brand.


Just knowing WHY you work isn’t enough. You need to take action once you know WHY. Without action that amazing statement is simply a fancy set of words on your wall. They mean nothing without continuous action, moving yourself closer to your WHY every day.

Effectiveness is not the same thing as productivity. When most people think of being productive they they dream of getting more tasks done in the same amount of time. The problem is, many people aren’t getting the right things done. They’re spending enormous amounts of energy on tasks that don’t push their business forward.

[Tweet “Many people aren’t getting the right things done.”]

This is where effectiveness trumps productivity. Effectiveness is learning to get the right things done and done well. You should be striving for effectiveness, not productivity, and here are my top four resources to help you on your journey towards effectiveness.


Mike Vardy has been in the game of helping you live a more organized life for a long time. The Productivityist newsletter is one of the few newsletters I get and read. You need to get Mike’s Productivityist Playbook for a great look at techniques to help you get the right stuff done well.

Cal Newport

Cal Newport may be best known for his book Deep Work, which I wrote a long review of. He is an advocate of cutting out distraction and devoting large blocks of time to focus on what you do best.

I’ve had clients who have read this book and then cut two days out of their work. With only three days in a work week they have no choice but to make hard choices about what they are going to do when. They have to cut all distractions and focus on the deep work that they do best. With this new-found focus they do better work and earn more money.

You may not be able to go that extreme to start, but you should be working to cut distractions and give your focus fully to the task at hand.

The Ziglar Show

Zig Ziglar is one of the most-quoted, most referenced business leaders. It seems that barely a week goes by before I hear something attributed to him. While he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on with his podcast The Ziglar Show and his many books. I’ve read See You At The Top many times and there is always some new insight for where I’m at currently.

10x Talk

Have you ever set a goal to double your business? What would need to be different if you grew your business 10x? This is where the work of Dan Sullivan comes in. I’m pointing you to his podcast, 10x Talk, but really you should be tapping into all of his resources.

If you’re going to a conference, he’s got a process to get the most out of the sessions and out of the relationships you’re going to make. This process mindset is going to help you be effective with your life.

If you want to figure out WHY you work and then get your work done effectively, these are the resources that are going to get you on the right track.

Do you have any other resources I’ve missed?

photo credit: sergesegal cc

2 responses to “Tired of not knowing your purpose? Use these 8 resources”

  1. Ginger Coolidge Avatar

    Hi Curtis,

    That Simon Sinek video was amazing…..and, it’s things I feel I inherently know but have not acted on. Its easy to get distracted especially when you’ve been working for a paycheck only and not “why”. That’s changing now.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Here’s to living and working with more purpose.