Why is finding your why important? The number one reason I would say is that it keeps you motivated day after day. A lot of the ideas for this piece come from my understanding and learnings from the Simon Sinek’s book “Start with the why.”
In order to do anything in life we need some form of motivation. This can be in two forms intrinsic, that is from “ with in “ and extrinsic, you guessed it “ from without”. Us humans are target aiming creatures and our targets can be anything from a woolly mammoth, an apple tree, a possible mate or even just money. When we zone in on a target our brain gives us a little boost of a chemical called dopamine which makes us feel good. It makes us feel so good we adapt our behaviour to get more hits of dopamine. We get a release of dopamine from our brains when we check our mobile phones and just look how addicted people can get to checking their phones and how often they check them. At work we can get addicted to hitting targets given to us by management so much so we could work against our own best interests or even the companies just to hit our targets. These are extrinsic motivations but we set up our own targets based on what we value we are less likely to be manipulated by others. So how do we set up our own targets? You start by finding your why.
Why is finding your why important ? Well as I said in the title its how to be motivated everyday, it provides you with the inspiration you need to keep going, it also helps you to communicate your ideas with others more effectively and allows people to buy into your vision more. Simon Sinek uses the examples of Apple and Microsoft to explain this and a device known as the “ golden circle”.
Microsoft go from outside inwards. They start with the what, so a typical campaign would be “ we have a new Surface Pro” They would move on to how, how their new product is better than before and how it is different to all their competitors. Finally the move to say why you should buy this product because its faster cheaper lighter than the one the had before. All sound logical stuff but not very inspiring. Apple do their communication the other way around. In the early 2000’s Apple started a campaign to express their Why, it was called “ Think Different” Its hard to imagine but before the i-phone a mobile phone was just that a device to make calls on and to send 32 character text messages and that was it. Apple changed that perception with their “ think different” approach to mobile phones and disrupted the industry. People bought into this approach, they become fans of Apple and queue up to buy their phones. You don’t see people camping out all night outside the shops to buy the latest Microsoft product.
Okay you might say, these guys are Mega corporations how does that help me, I am a one man band. What makes you get up in the morning and do what you do. Is it money? If its money why when you hit your monetary goal do you carry on getting more and more money. Is this going to attract people to you and your business. Will a goal of making more and more money sustain you? What if you changed the approach to something like “ to make the world a better place” would that make you more likely to get up in the morning? If you believed your mission your why in life was “ to make the world a better place” would that inspire you on a daily basis. If you communicated that why, through you business and the way you treat others around you, don’t you think it would attract those people who like your message and what you do. Remember Apple can sell their expensive i-phones because people buy into their “ think different”, why.
After reading Simon’s book I looked at my own why. Its still work in progress. I examined the things I have done in my life and what I enjoy doing the most. Through my activities with the Scouts, Teaching, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and coaching what was the common theme? The best I have come up with is “helping people to realise their potential”. Now I know its not a snappy slogan but it is authentic. I am sure I could get some copy writer to make the words flow better but for now I am going to stick with this. I hope to communicate this though what I do and the way I am.
What would your “ Why” be ? Have a go of thinking it through and let me know in the comments below.