Why You?

Take 60 seconds and answer this question.

Why you?

STOP reading this article….seriously…take 60 seconds and try to answer this question, then start reading below.

You actually answer this question daily whether you realize it or not.

What did you come up with when you tried to answer “Why You?” a few moments ago? Were you stumped? Did you stumble through the answer? Or did you confidently answer this basic question with confidence and conviction?


What Most People Say

  • I am a natural leader.
  • Because I care more than the next person.
  • I work efficiently.
  • I lead decisively.
  • I will work long hours until the task is completed.
  • People respect me and follow my direction.
  • I won’t let you down.
  • Give me a chance and you will not regret it.

Were any of the statements above similar in nature to what you came up with for yourself? If so, then you are in good company. I have been asking this question in groups since 2008. I find that in most instances people tend to answer this simple, yet difficult, question in a similar way.


Most People Get It Wrong

The examples given above list good qualities that we all should be able to claim. Everyone answering this question gives great examples of the type of things any of us would want someone else to say about us.

So, what’s the problem?

Simple, nothing listed has concrete examples or data to support what was said. You might very well be a natural leader, work efficiently, and have respect of those who work with or for you. Also, it is the same answer that everyone else gave. Up to this point you really have not differentiated yourself from the next person.

If you pose this same question to people you will be surprised (or not) to find that most people will say similar things.


Why People Should Get It Right

Opportunities to earn enough money over a lifetime are harder to come by. Gone are the days that you can count on keeping your job until retirement. Companies are downsizing, merging, and filing for bankruptcy. We are seeing more people fall below the poverty line than in prior generations.

Getting the “Why You?” question right is essential. It’s not just to find that next job, but it’s also to keeping your current job. It can determine your future both economically and emotionally.

Getting It Right

A good answer to “Why You?” should consist of concrete measurable facts. It is no longer good enough to use quality descriptors to define you. (Not that it ever really was good enough, but with increased competition for fewer slots, the stakes are higher.)

How you answer this question has 2 components.

The context in which “Why You?” is asked (or needs an answer)

  1. The context in which “Why You?” is asked (or needs an answer)
  2. Your life experiences and the outcomes from those experiences

Context In Which “Why You?” Is Asked

Are you looking for a job, running for political office, or simply engaging with others in a social setting? Each situation will call for a different response.

When seeking employment (and political office), you want to focus on past accomplishments and expertise. Here you want to quantify accomplishments and show positive outcomes based on your past involvement.

Social settings are a bit more dynamic. Some settings call for justifying yourself by your accomplishments, but most others are less about accomplishments and more about social skills. In these settings you want to focus on the other person. Identify their interests in order to better understand how you can answer “Why You?” in each situation. (Answering “Why You” in social settings is a larger topic, and not the focus of this article.)

Life Experiences and Outcomes

How you answer “Why You?” should be based on actual life experiences and accomplishments. Based on many of the answers that people give, I often question if the person actually took this into account.

Most of us are not quite prepared to answer “Why You?” when asked. I am not sure why we are not prepared for this question ahead of time. I assume that in our busy day-to-day lives we just do no realize that this very important question is lurking around the corner. Also, I think most people do not consider what is required to effectively answer such a question.

If you find that you are not prepared to adequately answer this question, today is a perfect day to start working on it. Remember that to fully answer this question, you need to be able to provide concrete measurable facts to back up anything you use to answer “Why You?”.

What’s your answer for “Why you?” going to be?


© 2012 Rex Humphries


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