What’s my WHY?

What was your favorite movie as a kid?

I’m not just asking because I’m curious (and because it’s so fun to hear your answer), there’s more to it than that. Your answer to the question, What was your favorite movie as a kid? reveals your WHY.



Your first eighteen years contain more than nine million minutes, but how many of those minutes do you actually remember? Three? Five? And why those minutes and not the nine million others? The reason has a lot to do with your WHY.

Your WHY is the story of your heart. It’s emotional and powerful, just like a good movie. Movies are stories brought to life, so the movies that captured your heart when you were young—like Home Alone, Top Gun, or The Wizard of Oz—were resonating with your story.

Your WHY is the story that you are here to tell with your life—both at home and at work. You have one WHY in your life, not a professional WHY during the week and a personal WHY the rest of the time. Your WHY is meant to be a 24/7 approach to life, infusing all your moments with significance and meaning.



Take Ashley, one of my clients. She’s a collegiate recruiting coach. Ashley wanted to know her WHY because she was launching a leadership development company, needed to get out of the gate quickly, and differentiate herself in the market. I asked her about her favorite movie which was Little Giants, the 1994 comedy about a misfit Pee Wee football team. She remembers screaming in support for the underdog team. She was 8 years old then. Today Ashley is that underdog. She’s about to become one of the 5% of African Americans who hold a doctoral degree.

Ashley’s WHY is to see hidden potential so that people can own their power in the world. Her WHY has provided her with an inspiring narrative for her business and a deeply meaningful approach to life.


Take Grant, podcaster and internet marketer. Grant wanted to know his WHY because like me, he’s a self-improvement junkie, but also because he had “lost his fire” at work. I asked him the same question and his movie was from the year 2000 when he was 10, Remember the Titans. Denzel Washington played the high school football coach to a new racially integrated team. Grant did not remember Denzel’s character as much as one of the players, Gary, who gets hit by a car and ends up in a wheelchair. It was hard to watch, he said.

Grant’s WHY is to unlock possibilities so that people will have the freedom to live their dream life. It’s no wonder that Gary’s loss of freedom and what had been his dream life was so difficult for Grant to watch. Today, Grant is considering renaming his podcast to Unlocking Possibilities and is using his WHY as the springboard for new direction in his business and family.


And then there’s Tam. I love Tam. She’s also a client and a high-end interior designer with a PhD in Process Design & Quality Management. Tam has two businesses which on the outside are very successful, but on the inside made her feel like she was spinning her wheels. She wanted to stop trying to be everything to everyone, a classic problem for people-pleasers, and find something that she could really give her life to. Tam’s movie was Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer. She has a vivid memory of watching it when she was 6 and being horrified by the scene where they wouldn’t let Rudolph play in any reindeer games. It reduced her to tears.

When we connected the dots, we found that Tam’s WHY is to give people a new way to see so that they can shine. Oh, the wisdom of Rudolph. Tam is now using her WHY as the source for a whole new brand that feels deeply authentic and more energizing than anything she’s ever done. She told me that her inward focus has now turned outward and she knows what she is here to do.



My favorite movie as a kid was the 1978 hit, Heaven Can Wait. It’s a football movie, and I’m not even that big of a football fan. Ironically, I did marry a former Denver Bronco who caught passes from John Elway, but without serious psychoanalysis, I’m gonna just say that I liked the story.

The story is about a second-string quarterback for the LA Rams, Joe Pendleton. Joe is played by Warren Beatty who was a total catch back then. On the eve of Joe/Warren’s big break—he’s going to start against Dallas—he is killed in a car accident, except that he’s not actually killed. He is prematurely taken up to heaven a split second before the collision by a rookie angel. Now, I know this sounds ridiculous, but back then, it seemed totally plausible.

Back to the movie. So, the rookie angel’s boss gets involved to try to correct the mistake and put Joe back into his body only to find that his body has been cremated. The search for a substitute body gets underway so Joe can get back to work and get to the Super Bowl, his ultimate dream.

SPOILER ALERT:  Heaven Can Wait ends with the angels finding Joe the perfect body, a quarterback who has just died in the middle of the actual Super Bowl game—you’ve got to love the movies—so they slide Joe right in. One minute the guy is lying dead and motionless on the stretcher and the next Joe is heading back into the game, energized and enlivened to go out there to make a difference.



And that is what your WHY can do for you: bring you back to your game with new energy, enthusiasm, and purpose. Body replacement is optional. You’ll engage more deeply with your work, know the direction your choices should take, and inspire everyone around you to make a difference with their lives.

My WHY is to help people see deeper, more meaningful truths about themselves so they can live up to their highest potential, which is why I loved Joe Pendleton and a couple other characters from Heaven Can Wait. They were able to look beyond what they saw on the outside (aka other people’s bodies) and see something deeper and more meaningful on the inside.

My WHY has provided the authentic direction and courageous inspiration I’ve needed to overcome huge obstacles in my family and my career. It’s made me fearless and fully committed to my own potential, the potential in each of my daughters, and the potential in every one of  my clients whom I get to coach everyday, helping turn their purpose into full potential.



Are you wondering what your WHY is? If so, find a friend and talk about your childhood movies. This is so fun. Ask each other these questions:

  1. What was the overall theme of the movie? You can also Google that. It will start to give you a sense of your personal life and work theme.
  2. Who was your character?
  3. What were they able to do, be, or see that made you love them?
  4. What were they up against? What was at stake?
  5. What impact did this have on your character?



Next, think in terms of your contribution and impact, completing the statement: I exist to _______ (contribution) so that _________ (impact).

I exist to…

  • to see hidden potential so that people can own their power in the world.
  • to unlock possibilities so that people will have the freedom to live their dream life.
  • to give people a new way to see so that they can shine.
  • to help people see deeper, more meaningful truths about themselves so that they can live up to their highest potential.



Your WHY is the purpose of your life. It’s the mission you were created to complete. Please don’t let another day go by without clearly defining and fully stewarding your WHY. Our world needs what only you have to offer.

If this is something you’d like help with, consider a WHY Discovery Call. In this two hour coaching session, we work together to clearly define and articulate what you are all about. You’ll also learn how to use your WHY to bring inspiration and meaning to your personal and professional life.


What’s your WHY?


In your corner,