What’s Your Why?

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February 21, 2024

Simon Sinek has a well-known Ted Talk about starting with why. For those who haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to watch it before reading the rest of this post. For those who would like a quick summary, here goes…

When asked what you or your company do, you usually start with what you do, before sharing how you do it. You might include why you do it, but most of what you say will focus on the what. Simon Sinek encourages us to start with the why. The why is where we find meaning. We do things because we believe in them. Our why gives us purpose. How we do what we do reflects that purpose, and the what is the result.

Start with the why. For those who haven’t thought about this before, here’s a basic question. What’s your why?

My why is creating learning opportunities so that all students have equal access to education, regardless of where they live. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. That’s what motivates me on a tough day. That’s what I think about when looking at a new challenge. That’s what brings meaning to the work that I do. How I do my job and what I do for my job follows my why.

If you know your why, your how and your what should always follow. If you don’t know your why, stop and reflect on what it is that drives you. As long as you’re pursuing your why, your how and your what should stay in line with your purpose.

Simon Sinek shares this concept with us because it will bring more meaning to people when we share why we do what we do before we share how and what we do. But I would argue that focusing on your why also brings more meaning to you, too. Being aware of your why will help you make sure that what you do follows what brings you purpose. If you are pursuing your purpose you will live a life fulfilled.

So… what’s your why?

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