The power of why

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A lot of people know WHAT they do for work.

Some people know HOW they do what they do.

But very few people know WHY they do what they do.

Simon Sinek is well known for developing the theory of knowing your why. His diagram -- The Golden Circle -- explains his theory of Start with Why. (Sinek also has a book called “Start with Why” and a “Start with Why” Ted Talk).

Here’s an example: A comedian tells jokes. That’s his WHAT.

He writes them, tests them out, rehearses them, revises them again, over and over until he has a really good, really funny set. That’s his HOW.

But WHY does he do what he does? The comedian who knows his WHY is likely to be much more successful than the one who doesn’t.

Making money isn’t a “why.” It’s a result of working. So what is your belief, your purpose, the reason why you decided to do what you do?

Your goal shouldn’t be to work with people who need what you are selling. Your goal should be to do business with people who believe what you believe.

Think about a buying a car. A particular car may get great mileage. Yep, that’s important if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on gas--and who does? But is that the reason you’d buy that car? Probably not. You’ll probably buy a car that has worse mileage but that moves you: the story behind the car evokes an emotional reaction, sparks your imagination, or inspires you to live the life you want to be living. All by owning and driving that particular car. You’re not really buying the what--the car. You’re buying the why.

This WHY theory is also why multi-level marketing companies (akas MLMs, the home-party model) succeed: the salespeople engage customers by sharing their own personal story. It’s real, and it’s inspiring, and helps people connect. Customers then experience their own inspiring story and want to share it with others, too. As Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Your goal shouldn’t be to work with people who need what you are selling, whether it’s your social media skills, your design savvy, your writing style. Your goal should be to do business with people who believe what you believe.

So your assignment is this: What’s your WHY?