Simon Sinek proposed in his 2009 TED Talk titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action that Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and other inspirational leaders communicate starting with “Why?” His talk is posted on YouTube and has garnered over 15 million views to date. It also led to a best selling book titled Start with Why.
With this in mind, I want to challenge you to consider WHY you do what you do:
– Why is your company in business? What is its purpose for being and does that inspire you?
– Why do you choose to serve the customers you currently have? Have you consciously chosen them, or did they simply have money you needed?
– Why are you running or working for your current company? Have you examined other options, or are you simply accepting a default solution to your need for income?
– Why are you in the profession that you practice? Is it motivating and interesting to you?
To help clarify your thoughts, Mr. Sinek suggests in his book:
“By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief. WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”
As seen in this quote, the inquiry applies as well to a business owner as it does to an individual employee or a customer. If you are a business owner, a clear answer to WHY provides you a higher level of guidance that can decouple your thinking that otherwise may be occupied by analyzing the competition to figure out how your products must be modified to stay ahead of them or catch up to them. If you are an employee, a clear answer to WHY may provide you a higher level of motivation within your current employer, a way to inspire your subordinates, or motivation to go somewhere else. If you are a customer, a clear answer to WHY may cause you to appreciate a supplier more or to seek out one that is more aligned with your values.
It will be helpful to figure out your WHY, but that is not enough. You must communicate it to others who are important in sustaining your goals. If you are a business owner, helping your employees understand WHY you are in business and they will become more loyal to your mission. If you are an employee, understanding your WHY will bring you an increased sense of purpose and sharing it with others will strengthen bonds within your team.
Finding your WHY and communicating it to those who are important to you is an exercise worth pursuing. I hope this post inspires you to find yours.