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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Rosney

Why Your Why Is Important

blackboard, chalkboard, your why is a gift to yourself, why me
Stock Image: Photographer Unknown. Wording: YMR Coaching and Development

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” — Viktor E Frankl*

In all honesty, I struggled to know how to get started on writing under this quote. Not because I didn’t believe it - in fact, the complete opposite. This quote by Frankl is such a powerful one for me personally; I almost struggle to put into words how it affects, helps and resonates with me. I believe a large element of that is not just the words themselves but the words from the mouth, mind and soul of a man who suffered such difficulties and sorrow, that I for one could not even imagine. Yet this reflection is probably what got him through every single day of his traumatic experiences. I bow to him and all others who suffered through such terrible horrors.

I guess the simpleness of the statement and the power that reverberates from it are at differing ends of the scale but still work in such harmony. The statement cannot be disputed.

He is not making a black and white definition - there is a get-out clause. By having that option available, one tends to feel even more determined to not utilise it.


I am also a ‘why’ person. Ever since I was a child, I was always asking that question. My desire to know everything about anything would have no doubt been too much for others at times, but I am a great believer in the power of knowledge; for me to know why creates the platform or starting point to consider the how.

I still have that mentality today. One of my specialities is helping teenagers find their voice in a positive way and when I ask them to explain something to me, I immediately follow up with “why?” or “how?” and I humour myself (hopefully the teenagers too) by saying:

“whenever you are communicating, always think of my voice in your head and follow up your comment by asking 'why?' or 'how?', and if you don’t know why or how then find out.”

This is what makes life more interesting and can be helpful in finding ways to deal with difficult times or to be heard in an understanding way.

It's all about how you look at it

I guess the other reason Frankl’s words are so powerful to me is that there have been times when I have picked through every word of that statement in order to help myself get through a difficult and dark moment. Ironically, never once during my difficult moments did I read that quote and belittle myself. I never used the mentality of “what have you to feel down about? Look at this man - he had far more reason to be in a dark place than you ever will.” To be honest, it never even resonated with me in that way. Instead, it allowed me to really bring it back to basics; to think about why I live. At some of my most difficult times, I realised that I had lost the vision of ‘why’ and by sitting with this statement, it allowed for all the other negativity and chatter to subside so I could purely focus on my ‘why’. By reconnecting with that, it allowed me to anchor it instead of feeling completely out of control, and from that I could then start looking at how I was going to live - and not just live but live better.

It's not about me... yet at the same time it is

I also struggled to start writing about this quote because, as a good coach should, I try to not make my work about me. On reflection, I am a human first and then a coach. Once I accepted I couldn’t be impartial in giving my personal insights and how this particular quote resonates so much with me, I found I could express myself a lot easier. So to those of you who were looking for some impersonal guidance, I hope you still managed to find something in here to help you and for those of you who enjoyed reading my personal views - I thank you.

Being the ‘why’ person that I am, I am incredibly keen to hear anyone else’s views on Frankl’s quote so I can learn more about your perceptions. You are welcome to get in touch through my website or on my Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. Also, get in touch if you want help with turning uncertainty and negativity around into assurance and positivity. After all, if Victor E Frankl* could turn his mindset around, I'm sure we could honour him by trying to do the same?


*Victor E Frankl: ...Between 1928 and 1930, while still a medical student, he organized youth counselling centers to address the high number of teen suicides occurring around the time of end of the year report cards. The program was sponsored by the city of Vienna and free of charge to the students. Frankl recruited other psychologists for the center, including Charlotte Bühler, Erwin Wexberg, and Rudolf Dreikurs. In 1931, not a single Viennese student died by suicide...

...In 1940, he joined Rothschild Hospital, the only hospital in Vienna still admitting Jews, as head of the neurology department. Prior to his deportation to the concentration camps, he helped numerous patients avoid the Nazi euthanasia program that targeted the mentally disabled.

In 1942, just nine months after his marriage, Frankl and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. His father died there of starvation and pneumonia. In 1944, Frankl and the surviving members of his family were transported to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother were murdered in the gas chambers. His wife died later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Frankl spent three years in four concentration camps.

Following the war, he became head of the neurology department of the Vienna Polyclinic Hospital, and established a private practice in his home. He worked with patients until his retirement in 1970...

Man's Search for Meaning

While head of the Neurological Department at the general Polyclinic Hospital, Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning over a nine-day period. The book, originally titled A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp, was released in German in 1946. The English translation of Man's Search for Meaning was published in 1959, and became an international bestseller.

(Excerpts taken from for general informational purposes only)

© YMR Coaching & Development


Yvonne has qualifications in Coaching, Positive Psychology, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and believes in continual personal development. She is currently based in the UK and also has life and work experience in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. She helps with mindset wellbeing and change which includes significant relocations. She is contactable for client availability, public speaking events and media enquiries here:


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