What does a WHY session look like?

WHY session Zilvold Coaching & Training Blog
9 min read

Why do you do the things you do or why don’t you (yet). To make you aware of this, a so-called “Why session” can help you. This article tells you what a Why session looks like. How you can prepare for it and what you still have to do to refine your WHY statement. Your WHY helps you to make decisions that are in line with you so that you can lead a happier, more action-oriented and more loving life.

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“Oh, that’s why.”

It became quiet. Marcel (not his real name) realized why he had made a particular decision in the past to end a relationship. That led to a difficult period in his life that felt like a depression. To this day, it still hurts him when he looked back to that period. That was more than 25 years ago.

And even though it was a bitter experience, it is still a valuable experience that contributes to the expression of his draft WHY statement.

The point is then to discover the positive themes of this, perhaps negative, experience. For Marcel, this was the discovery of his values ​​, such as honesty, love, and peace. He also discovered important themes such as “being brave,” “bringing people together,” and “listening.” These and other themes eventually led to this statement:

“To support others with their development so that they can find the meaning of their own lives.”

This statement is still a draft statement and will be refined. It is not the goal that the sentence runs perfectly, and that beautiful words are used. The point is that this statement directly touches the emotions and feelings that remind Marcel of when he was at his natural best. That will help him to be brave, to be honest, and to make the right choices in his life.

For more information on how to find your WHY, read this article.

In this article I explain what a WHY session actually looks like.


When discovering your WHY, it is not so much a matter of creating or inventing a WHY. Your WHY is already within you. It originates from past experiences. To prepare you, it is, therefore, essential to collect at least five stories.

How to find good stories?

It is about collecting stories of experiences that have contributed to the person you are today. Experiences that have had a significant impact on your life. Your WHY was expressed when you were at your natural best.

You can choose an event such as your first job or starting your first company, but it could also be something less obvious. It can be an event that you are very proud of. Write them down so that you can quickly remember them during the WHY session. And write down as many details as possible. The more specific you are, the more you feel an emotional connection with your memory. This emotional connection will lead you to your WHY.

Here are some questions that can help you recall events that have had a major impact on your life:

  • Who helped you in life to make you the person who you are today?
  • Remember a day at work when you went home, you said to yourself, “I would have done that for free!”
  • Think of your most terrible day at work.
  • What was a great experience at school?
  • What has been a crucial moment in your life, where you realized that nothing would ever be the same again?
  • What have you achieved that you are proud of?
  • What was a moment when you gave yourself to help someone else, after which you felt incredibly good – as if you had done something that mattered?

Your WHY comes from your past. So that can be from your birth until today. You can draw on events from all that period (school, home, work, travel, etc.). Some facts you might like to experience again and others (such as those of Marcel) less so. Both positive experiences and negative experiences have contributed to the person you are today. You don’t have to write down the stories in chronological order.

You can also use the lifeline to write down your stories. Read more about the lifeline in this blog, where you can download a FREE template.

The session itself

A complete WHY session takes around 4 hours but can last up to 6 hours. It is important that you cannot be disturbed during this session. It is not preferable, but the sessions can also be done by Skype (or Zoom).

For the record: A WHY session is not a coaching session, and it is also not a therapy session.

During the session, you tell your partner your stories. He/she only listens and will ask you questions if the story is not clear. Your partner will help you discover which feelings and emotions played a role in every story. He/she will then try to find out whether there is a silver line in the stories. Your partner does this by writing down the facts and meanings. Those meanings are recurring themes such as perseverance or honesty for Marcel. More than ten different themes may be discovered. Only two of your unique themes are used to express a draft WHY statement. A WHY statement consists of a contribution that you make and its impact (on the world).

Refining your Why

If you have found a draft WHY statement, it will feel like something valuable has been discovered. Something you have always known but could not express well. Just like Marcel, it can happen that you’ll say: “Oh, that’s why”. It makes things clear, and when I discovered it for myself, I was reassured, fulfilled, and happy. You might also experience a feeling of freedom.

Perhaps a few words need to be changed in your draft WHY statement to strengthen the connection with your feelings, your emotions even more. Next, it would be good to test your draft WHY statement. The point is that you immediately come into contact with your feelings as soon as you express your WHY to yourself or to others. Tell the people who are close to you and ask them if they recognize you in your WHY.

It is also possible that your draft WHY statement should be left alone for a while, like a cake that just came out of the oven. Refining your concept Why pronunciation can take up to a month. It should not last longer because a WHY is positive and action-oriented, and that means that you can use it daily. Write it on a note and stick it on the mirror so that you are always reminded when you shave, put on your make-up, or stand in front of the mirror.

And what about all those other themes?

That is a good question. These are all actions ​​and contributions that are unique to you. They are ways you live your WHY. They are the How’s as described in my article “Find your WHY.” In the article “Now What?”, you’ll read about how to find out HOW to do WHAT if you already know your WHY. For Marcel, that is by listening carefully, doing his best, or by making connections.

Do you also want to find your Why?

I can help you as a partner. Contact me today for a FREE intake by clicking on the button below!

How did you discover your purpose, your WHY, or your goal in life? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article and I are looking forward to reading from you!

Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends, or family. And please SHARE this article with your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google + by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from this article about the process of a WHY session.

Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

Source: Find your WHY, Simon Sinek

Update: I wrote the original article on May 21, 2019, and I updated it on August 11, 2020.

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