Finding Your Why
What do Martin Luther King, Apple, and the Wright brothers have in common?
They think, act, and communicate the same way–and it’s opposite to everyone else.
So says Canadian, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
Sinek says our lives and careers function on three levels:
What we do
How we do it, and
Why we do it.
He claims we usually only understand the first two, but success comes in understanding the third. Why.
Sinek claims a key to the success of any career or business, is having a complete understanding of why you do what do, then being able to communicate that.
The following is taken from an interview Sinek did with the EntreLeadership Podcast.
“A why is born out of our own experience. It comes from us. Our why is formed entirely probably by the time we’re 19 or 20. And so the rest of our lives are really the opportunity to bring our why’s to life.
” The decisions we make either keep us in balance with our why (meaning our how/what are in balance with our why) or they’re not. And the times it is, everything feels good, everything seems to go perfectly, everything we touch turns to gold, we enjoy everything no matter how hard we work.
“When things are out of balance, everything becomes a struggle, passion goes down, stress goes up, we become more obsessed with our competition than with ourselves.
“And so to find yourself you really go backwards. You don’t ask the outside world, you look at your own life or your own business, and you look for patterns.
“There are consistent patterns, which is when everything seems to be great. You see a commonality, which is you’re driven by the same thing, conducting the same behaviors and everything you’re doing is proving it. And so what you want to do is find the times where you loved going to work, I’m talking very specific, a project you worked on that you loved.
“You might have worked hard, you may not have made a lot of money, but you loved it, and if everything could be like that time, it would be good.
“Find those instances where the only thing you can describe the experience you had is, ‘I absolutely loved it.’ And look for the commonalities.
“Find that time that you hated it, and you’ll find the same list of things that weren’t there when you hated it, even though superficially they may have looked the same.
“Look for the patterns. What did they have in common? What was driving the decisions? What was fantastic about it? Dig and dig and dig until you can go no deeper.”
The following is an 18-minute TED video Sinek recorded on the topic.
EntreLeadership Podcast #1 – August 17, 2011.