“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” — Simon Sinek
Start With Why calls attention to our why. In it, Simon confronts the void in businesses and essentially our lives, which is the lack of meaningful and purposeful pursuit.
Fortunately, many of us have come to the realization that there is truth embodied in this concept, that we as people, as businesses, as agents of change, must be working towards a more profound and constant endeavor.
We have bought into the idea that there is power derived from having a why that transcends materialistic or short-term motivators. We have tasted and seen the success of artists, philanthropists, visionaries, and businessmen who create for causes greater than themselves, build for futures they will never live to see, and tackle problems they will never see the solutions to.
Our libraries are now overflowing with books designed to empower dreaming and to aid in self-realization. Venues are packed with purpose-hungry CEOs, mothers, and people of all walks of life looking for roles they can play in the scheme of globalization. Our phones are home to motivational videos, disciplinarian podcasts, and our favorite influencers.
These days, the road of purpose isn’t hidden behind the brush. It’s found in our GPS and understood by many more. It’s less of a narrow path and there are many more footsteps to follow.
But I wonder if some of us have settled for finding the path, for knowing people who have discovered their whys. I feel as though we might be compensating our barely surviving whys with the whys of others. We look to those who continue to achieve and continue to press into their life callings and impose the health of their pursuits to our own.
We are looking in the same direction aren’t we? I might not have yet but I plan on going down the same road as those people. The one less traveled mind you.
Are we content with knowing the best way but never going down that path? Or maybe you have and you’re looking back and you’re thinking, “well I’m a lot further along then everyone else.”
And so for many of us, it’s not a matter of finding our why. It’s not about being more absolute in our resolves but checking the health and status of them.
Selfless by Nature
No, money can not be your why, because it’s self-centered.
The reason there’s such huge potential in discovering what you feel called to do is because only in this endeavor are you willing to abandon yourselves. And it’s in the moment when you forget what you wanted, what made you uncomfortable, and what wasn’t to your liking that you began to see the needs of this world.
Ironically, the search for our purpose, our passions, and our callings will reveal the shortcomings, desires, and needs of the entire world.
So it’s not about us trying to attain what’s already been achieved or getting a taste of the success others have made to seem so desirable. Rather, it’s about paving a new path, meeting a lack, and creating something from nothing.
Some of us go around declaring our commitment to “good” causes while others fall prey to the idea that our purpose is as basic as fulfilling our carnal instincts for more stuff.
But whichever side you’re on at this moment, it takes being intentional to get through the layers of misunderstanding and selfishness. You won’t happen upon your why, you have to work to uncover it from the stubbornness of our prejudices, our ambitions, and our judgement.
Keeping It Alive
Now that you’ve walked through the pearly gates, it’s up to you to not go running back out.
In all of human history there has been a never-ending siege on the aspirations of dreamers and it’s a fight you’re not exempt from. From the funding drying up to critics replacing your supporters. From the silencing of governments to the abandonment of parents, you have sprouted and blossomed against the gravity of unbelief.
Spies will sneak in, hoping to steal your why. They come in as doubt and as fear. They come in the form of reason and rationale, many times from those who love you.
If that fails, they come disguised as second-tier whys. They try to convince you that making money for yourself is your why, that being famous, or being accepted is sensible and enough for you.
But these are the tempters that detract from the greatness you can really achieve. They want to strip you of the amazing feats you might accomplish had you not considered yourself the priority.
And so it is your offense, your defense, and your last stand to uphold the integrity of your life’s existence. Your WHY is not my why. Your why might have no precedent, a pioneer of ambition, but that doesn’t mean it’s not perfect for you.
In the same way you check your weight or you bank account, give your why a second look and make sure it gives you a little scare.