Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why” and speaker of multiple “Ted Talks”, has a concept that has fascinated me since the first time I learned about it.
He says, in order to be a leader you must be able to inspire, but in order to inspire, you must first know your “why”.
This is easier said than done as most of us know exactly “what” we do but very few of us know “why” we do it.
He explains that companies like Apple operate from a place of “why” as he repeats in one of his Ted Talks over and over again, “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”.
Stating that Apple doesn’t sell you what the product is capable of or it’s specifications, they sell you on the idea.
The idea that Apple’s mission is to challenge the status quo and think differently.
They don’t focus on “what” their products do but “why” they create them, causing people to wait in line for 6 hours to be one of the first to get the latest and greatest iPhone.
Whether the iPhone or Android is better is irrelevant (they are probably very comparable) but they have created a culture of people that identify with their “why” who want to be a part of it and will go to great lengths to do so.
When it comes to finding our own “why” it can be a bit more difficult.
Typically when we look into jobs and careers, many times we choose “what” over “why”.
How many times has someone offered or told you about a job and the first question you ask is “what does it pay?” or “what are the benefits?”
Notice, both of these are “what” questions, not “why” questions.
By focusing on “what”, we will continue to bounce around and look for the next shiny object, ultimately leaving us unfulfilled.
But, focusing on “why” gives us purpose and inspiration while at the same time inspiring others.
As I said, this is not an easy task and although I believe in the importance of finding my “why” as I would like to inspire others…
I am still searching.