What Is Your Why?

My interest in finding my “why” and that of others was sparked by Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk. http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

Sinek talks about three circles.

Simon Sinek's, Why, How, What

Most people know what they do.

E.g. I am a physiotherapist.

Some people can describe how they do that.

E.g. By studying extensively with experts in their fields

Staying abreast of current research

Doing in depth analysis of all patient’s cases until confident of the drivers and strategy forward

Treating patients implementing that strategy

Sharing knowledge with other therapists

But the why is more difficult to articulate. Why do you do what you do? Why do you get out of bed? What common themes run through your business and personal life?

Sinek gives some examples of the power of living your “why”.

The Wright brothers competed to discover powered man flight with none of the resources available to their key competitor Samuel Langley. Langley was given $50,000 by the government and able to pick the greatest mind of the time to come and work with him. In contrast Orville and Wilbur did not have a single college educated member on their team and funded the entire project with the proceeds from their bike shop. The interesting thing being, when the Wright brothers succeed, Langley stopped. He stopped, asserts Sinek, because he was driven by fame. He could have continued and improved the technology but instead he stopped. For the Wright brothers it was a burning desire, it was why they got up in the morning and as a result they would work harder, longer and enjoy the process. Doesn’t this sound like more fun than most people are having at “work”.

Sinek uses Martin Luther King as another example. People followed Dr King not because of his what, but because of his why. King rarely spoke specifically about African-American civil rights. In fact his audience contained a significant number of Caucasians. People followed him because he spoke more about his why. He gave the “I have a dream speech”, his why, not the “this is my 10 point plan of WHAT we will do”. As a result people bought in to him and his dream.

So how do we find our why?

On Sinek’s website he has a course he calls “Why university”. Where he helps you uncover your personal why. The central threads are to look back on past experiences. What did you enjoy, who did you admire and why? When were you happy? When did things simply flow?  Your why is never about your job or just one area of life. Your business will have it’s own why as will any other entities you are involved with.

Sinek’s why is, “to inspire others to inspire others”.

I believe Usian Bolts may be, “to be a legend to show others what is possible”.

Other’s I have come across include, “to push”, “to show others the value of honesty”.

I believe mine may be “to learn and share, so that others can live their why and others can build on my work”.

What is your why?

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what is my why?, What is you why?

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