the Importance of Knowing Why by Alvalyn Lundgren

The Importance of Knowing Why

How many people set goals and never achieve them? How many creatives start a business and then watch it fizzle out Are you someone who, with all good intention, writes out a list of things you need to accomplish and then don’t get around to calling more than one or two done?

I’ve been that person many times. I’ve created and even scheduled a bunch of goals. Then, in retrospect, I realize that I’ve not gotten done what I set out to do. I got distracted, ran out of time, or simply forgot about them.

Looking at my own track record, it became clear that I’d forgotten why goals were important to me when I created them. I had no motivation to achieve certain goals.

If we want to make goals stick, we need to know WHY a goal is important. What’s the motivating factor in creating a goal in the first place? 

Why a business or organization exists is key to its prosperity.

The importance of knowing why is not just for setting goals. It’s absolutely necessary for building your freelance business in the first place. Your why for freelancing is based on your desires, personality, and world view. In short, it’s concerned with your vision, values and voice. 

The reasons for freelancing and building successful businesses are myriad. Your reasons are not mine. Successful enterprises are in it for their customers and not themselves. What they receive in return – income, influence and growth – are by-products of meeting needs and providing solutions. Why a business or organization exists is key to its prosperity. If it’s self-serving, people won’t stay around for very long. When customers don’t see value or benefit, they move on.

Here are the whys behind a few of my clients’ enterprises:

  • An investment management firm works to inspire responsible stewardship of time, talent and treasure and help people manage financially so that they can focus on things that give their lives meaning.
  • A debt counseling service helps people achieve personal financial freedom by breaking the chains of debt that bind them.
  • A faith-based organization works with its community to provide compassion, justice, and opportunity for the urban poor, and provides a haven where youth and their families can be safe from gangs, violence, and crime.
  • A non-profit provides job education, employment and life skills coaching to adults with physical and mental disabilities, providing them a sense of value, self-sufficiency which enables them to become contributors to their communities.
I serve my clients by designing graphic assets that help achieve their goals. It’s more difficult to do that if the motive for a design centers on increasing sales alone. Admittedly, sales are important, but they should be the result rather than the goal. People don’t buy a product or engage a service for the purpose of helping a business meet sales goals. They buy because of benefit. The way people benefit from a product or service is the cornerstone for promotional messages, branding strategy and design solutions. As Victor Papanek said, The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

What is the why behind your what?

A recent post about goal achievement by Michael Hyatt  prompted me to consider why people go into business, launch services and products and subsequently ask me to develop graphic assets, web sites and branding.

I’ve observed that successful enterprises are in it for their customers and not themselves. What they receive in return – income, influence and growth – are by-products of meeting needs and providing solutions. Why a business or organization exists is key to its prosperity. If it’s self-serving, people won’t stay around for very long. When customers don’t see value or benefit, they move on.

Here are the whys behind a few of my clients’ enterprises:

  • An investment management firm works to inspire responsible stewardship of time, talent and treasure and help people manage financially so that they can focus on things that give their lives meaning.
  • A debt counseling service helps people achieve personal financial freedom by breaking the chains of debt that bind them.
  • A faith-based organization works with its community to provide compassion, justice, and opportunity for the urban poor, and provides a haven where youth and their families can be safe from gangs, violence, and crime.
  • A non-profit provides job education, employment and life skills coaching to adults with physical and mental disabilities, providing them a sense of value, self-sufficiency which enables them to become contributors to their communities.
I serve my clients by designing graphic assets that help achieve their goals. It’s more difficult to do that if the motive for a design centers on increasing sales alone. Admittedly, sales are important, but they should be the result rather than the goal. People don’t buy a product or engage a service for the purpose of helping a business meet sales goals. They buy because of benefit. The way people benefit from a product or service is the cornerstone for promotional messages, branding strategy and design solutions. As Victor Papanek said, The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.

What is the why behind your what?

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