I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how important it is to know WHY you do what you do rather than just knowing what you do and how you do it. Many of us miss our own potential; settling for a life that merely tells us what to do and how to do it. We’re constantly being told what to be, how to dress, what to study, how to date, what to buy, how to work, what to think, and how to live. We’re so conditioned to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but we never really explore WHY. Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why“, has done an amazing job at unpacking and champions this idea as well. Here’s what he has to say about WHY:
“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? Six years ago I found myself in a place I’d never been before. I lost my passion for what I was doing. Waking up was a chore, and going to work required all the energy I had. It was the discovery of this thing called the WHY that restored my passion. It proved to me that I had the right to feel fulfilled by my work and that I didn’t have to suffer through a job I had. It was so powerful that I decided I was going to devote all my energy from that point on to proving to others that fulfillment is a right we all share and I was going to do my part to show people a way that we could all come home at the end of the day and say, with a smile, ‘I love my job’.”
If you’re like me, you can’t help but read that quote from Simon and think, “Wow, I totally want to feel fulfilled in the work that I do. I totally want to love my job and ultimately love my life.” But so many of us are guilty of living a life full of WHATs – what we eat, what we wear, what we buy, what we watch, what we do for a living, what we make, what we drive, what we like, and what we think. I’m guilty of starting with WHAT. People ask me WHAT I do and I tell them. Nothing more, nothing less. I talk about all of my WHATs. Every now and then, someone may ask HOW I do something. But it’s pretty darn rare that someone wants to know WHY. I can’t blame people for asking questions, but it’s so much better to start with WHY. That’s the deeper, more meaningful question. That’s the question that draws people in and inspires them.
For example, it’s one thing to tell people that I’m a designer or an entrepreneur or a strategist. It’s another thing to tell people that the reason WHY I design or start businesses or develop brand marketing strategies is to “Awaken Possibility in myself and others”. Everything in my life has now become about accomplishing my WHY. The purpose of my blog is to accomplish my WHY. The purpose of my business is to accomplish my WHY. The purpose of my life is to accomplish my WHY. I even took it a step further and created a Manifesto about my WHY. You can read it here. It’s called “My Manifesto: The Story Behind Awakening Possibility”.
It’s the story – the reason WHY people do what they do – that makes us stop, pay attention, and connect. It’s the stories of people expressing their art, living their passions, starting a business, raising their kids, sharing their ideas, solving real problems, making a difference, doing work that matters, and changing their world that’s priceless. This is the beauty that makes us human.
I have joined the ranks of these amazing stories. Over the past 10 years, I’ve helped so many people tell their stories better and communicate their WHY better as a Brand Marketing Strategist. Many of these people were business owners, pastors, entrepreneurs, college students, authors, and leaders. They were all on their journey of discovering their WHY – whether it was for their business, their church, their family, their career, or themselves. I guess you could say that my WHY was to Awaken Possibility in their WHY. :)
As I close, my hope is not only that you get a deeper understand of WHY I do what I do, but that you are also inspired to discover your WHY too.