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Discover Your WHY with these 10 Questions

My son’s eyes bore the plump pinkness of a day spent in water and sun.

We had just returned home from our first swim of the season, and as we climbed the stairs, I reminded the kids to hang their towels on their hooks. 

Our 6-year-old son grabbed his striped, vibrant towel, and instead of hanging it on the hook like most people would, he grabbed it by one end, draped it gently over the hook, and twirled it in slow, clumsy circles until it was haphazardly wrapped around the hook.

Once it was half on, half off—but clearly met Mom’s standard of being “hung”—he grunted in satisfaction and dashed off (like the cute little animal most 6-year-old boys are).

It was so different than the way I would have done it. In my mind, his process was considerably less efficient. But in his mind, it was considerably more fun. And in the end, the result was more or less the same.

Since this moment, I’ve often thought about what a fitting metaphor it is for the way we all live our lives.

What seems like the answer for me isn’t necessarily the answer for you. What seems like the simplest, clearest path for me may not be the path you’re interested in taking.

Take a the style of a home, for instance.

Minimal and tidy.

Eclectic and casual.

Cluttered but sentimental.

Each one likely reflects the owner’s lifestyle—not just her design taste.

This is why I’m cautious in my writing not to tell you how to live (just because *I* might live that way):

Your way and my way do not have to be the same. 

We can celebrate each other’s uniqueness and believe that no matter the state of our homes, the size of our families, the pace of our lives, the root of our faith—we belong to each other. There isn’t one right path. (Or one right way to hang a towel on a hook.)

That said…

I believe we lead happier lives when we know ourselves. 

When we know what makes us tick, what lights us up, we can capitalize on that energy and allow it to spill over into all aspects of our lives. We can find purpose and contentment when we live out our whys.

The question then is, what is your WHY?

What are your deepest intentions, your core values—What do you prioritize over everything else?

Because of my focus on living purposefully, I occasionally get emails like this one:

“I’m 36 years old and have no idea what my why is. Unlike other people around me, I don’t feel like my life has any great purpose. There’s nothing I can do that no one else can.”

(Tugs at your heart, right?)

I think some people are lucky enough to sense their calling and pursue it with certainty. Others of us? God lets others of us struggle.

But that’s okay. There’s beauty in the struggle, in the not knowing.

And whether you struggle until the point when you know, or you struggle lifelong and find nothing but bits and pieces along the way, the search alone can give you purpose—and empathy.

For you and for my new friend who sent the email above, I’ve written 10 questions to help you discover your WHY.

I can’t promise you’ll suddenly find your life’s one great calling, but I do think you’ll gather more breadcrumbs, that you’ll put together more pieces of the puzzle that will lead you to a happier and more purposeful life.

Just enter your info below to have a PDF of the questions sent straight to your inbox. 

Thank you so much for being part of our movement!


  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Why can’t I find the “10 questions to discover your why”? I subscribed and then entered my email again but can’t seem to access the post.

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      October 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Hi Angela! Once you enter your email, a confirmation email should be sent to your email address. (If you use gmail, check your promotions tab!) From that email, you click to confirm your subscription, and then shortly after, the “10 questions” email should arrive! I’ve got your email address, though—thanks to you leaving a comment—so I’ll shoot you the questions right now. 🙂 That should take care of it!

  • Reply
    Michelle Tenberg
    January 22, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Hi Erica,
    I LOVE your blog! I’ve been spreading the word about it!

    I also have not received the 10 questions (checked all folders). May you please send them to me? Have a great day!


    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Hey Michelle! I can’t thank you enough for your kind note and for spreading the word! I’m looking into the 10 Questions issue right now. Should be in your inbox soon! (Make sure you check your promotions tab, in gmail, which I’m sure you did.) 🙂

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Erica, I love Let Why Lead and have enjoyed it from afar through No Sidebar and other posts and shares of your blog. I too, ran into the 10 question issue. When I signed up I got the list of 16 top resources for women living with their whole hearts. That post is great but I’d love your 10 questions.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    June 7, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I try to keep life simpler and less stressed by *not* signing up for subscriptions. I bookmark sites and articles of particular importance, like yours, but no more subscriptions please! Would you be so kind as to send me your list on its own?

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      June 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Michala. I’m with you—I keep my subscriptions well edited. That said, as a writer, I love connecting with readers by email. It feels more personal, and I often have real email conversations with readers who reply, so I love it for that. The newsletter I send out is only monthly, and you can unsubscribe at any time, so do keep it in mind for the future!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Erica

    I find the link to the top 16 resources a great help and im working through it. The 10 questions really got me thinking.

    The work you do is so important for someone like me in need of a drastic change.

    Looking forward to your monthly emails

    Kind Regards

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      July 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Hi Tamsyn! I can’t thank you enough for your kind comment. All the best! -Erica

  • Reply
    February 23, 2018 at 5:58 am

    I got my questions right away!! Thanks so much! I’m excited to find my why! I needed this, today is my birthday and I’m just drifting through life, reacting instead of acting!

  • Reply
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