Do you know why, in the morning, you get up, go to work, eat, sleep, and repeat? In other words, in your personal and professional life, do you have a sense of direction and purpose? If you can’t answer a straightforward and loud “yes” to these questions, don’t worry; many people don’t know why they do what they do and, as a result, at the end of each day feeling satisfied, don’t come home from work.
The book, Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, by Simon Sinek, David Mead and Peter Docker, is about finding your WHY, such that you can wake up in the morning feeling inspired to go to work. If it means collecting stories from your past to uncover your WHY or sharing it with a group of strangers, you’ll figure out how to understand your WHY and how to start living with it.
If you have ever felt lost or unfulfilled in life, it could be the product of not understanding your life’s meaning or not knowing your WHY, as the author Simon Sinek likes to call it. Finding your WHY can be difficult, but you can wake up each morning with intent and determination once you have it in your life.
After having lost all enthusiasm for his work, Sinek discovered his WHY. He felt sad at the time and got lots of advice from people, but none of it felt important to his situation. He knew his WHY was to motivate others after some soul-searching, and once he took this to heart, he started to see his life more clearly and with more hope.
Knowing his WHY gave direction to Sinek’s life, and he soon discovered that this confidence appealed to others. This not only applies to individuals, but to businesses as well. A case in point is Apple, which has strong rivals with more features selling cheaper goods. But the clients of Apple are loyal and motivated by their slogan “Think Different,” which explains their WHY perfectly. Instead of saving a few bucks from a more generic corporation, consumers would rather give money to a business with a political brand.
Let’s look at two promotional pitches for a paper business to see how persuasive a strong intent can be in the marketplace. The first highlights the excellent quality and inexpensive price of the paper; the second highlights the goal of the organization to produce a fine product that enables individuals to record their thoughts and share them with the world. This second pitch is much more convincing and enticing, simply because it clarifies the WHY of the business.
If you’re scared of going to work and finding your work exhausting, then obviously you’re doing something that doesn’t speak to your WHY. Even the most boring and banal activities become easy to handle once you find a job you’re passionate about.
Working your way into the golden circle is a perfect way to find your passion. In Simon Sinek’s previous novel, Start With WHY, the golden circle was introduced and explains how we appear to work on three levels. The first level, the outer circle, is all about “WHAT” we do, while “HOW” we do it is the middle circle. Finally, the golden circle, which decides “WHY” we do it, is at the middle.
You’ll find love for your role when all of these circles are aligned. The authors conducted a discovery exercise to help one young woman identify her WHY, which included the woman sharing personal stories from her experience. As several of her stories illustrated her desire to protect her younger sister from their abusive father, this exposed painful, but still valuable, facts. So a clear WHY there be a career for this young woman in helping vulnerable people who are unable to defend themselves.
If you have more than a hundred stories from your life and can’t find your WHY yet, don’t panic. Even in the things that are important to us, it’s hard to find a common theme, and if this is the case, it may be time to put in a new perspective.
In defining your WHY, another person who knows you well can be a valuable resource. This person does not have to be someone with whom you are intimate, only someone who is curious and observant. It can help if your experience is not too familiar with the person you’re talking to and is someone who can ask insightful questions and even take thorough notes.
In order to find your WHY, asking detailed questions is very important, and these questions also lead to crucial information and intense feelings. With the right probing questions, something like “I loved visiting my cousins during summer holidays as a child,” may become, “I loved visiting my cousins because we could explore the woods along their property and find fascinating things in nature.” Common themes can emerge with these specifics and point the way to your WHY. With these details. A good listener who is interested and asks questions will draw similarities between various stories, even though they may seem to you to be entirely different stories.
Even if you have found a career you enjoy, if you are working for a business that doesn’t have a clear vision, or WHY, you can always end up feeling depressed and disheartened. Perhaps worse, maybe the business is your own!
To prevent this from happening, you can run a simple WHY Discovery Workshop to share various stories and shape a powerful WHY for your company.
The espresso machine company, La Marzocco, conducted one especially memorable workshop. Employees were encouraged to share tales that represented how it felt to work for the business. One worker remembered a store photography event that brought the workers together and made them feel connected. This tale triggered several others just like it, and the WHY comment from La Marzocco soon came into focus: bringing people together for lively conversation over coffee.
Another condition in which a business can find itself is to have a WHY, or mission statement, which was once evident but has since changed or fallen by the wayside with the times. Here, too, a WHY Discovery workshop will help. A WHY Discovery Workshop will assist an organization to identify its organizational culture, as well as its mission statement and future vision, both of which will make it easier for employees to make the right decisions on the field.
Check out my related post: How to be Purposeful?