I believe that understanding your own why and ensuring your actions are consistent with it is a big part of long term happiness and fulfilment.
Given that Purpose is one of key modules of Atairu Authentic Leadership and we work with boards of companies to define purpose of their organizations I am always looking for interesting books on that topic. Here are some key thoughts from FIND YOUR WHY book by Simon Sinek which are confirmed by our experience of working with leaders around the world.
1. Knowing your WHY means having a clear purpose, and this makes you and your business more appealing.
Finding your WHY can be challenging, but once you have it in your life, you can wake up each morning with purpose and determination. Sinek discovered his WHY after he’d lost all passion for his work. After some soul-searching, he realized his WHY was to inspire others, and once he took this to heart, he began to see his life more clearly and with more optimism. I have had a very similar experience about 10 years ago which led me to define my purpose as reinventing education globally to activate uniqueness in children, leaders, teams and organizations.
This not only applies to people, but also to companies. A case in point is Apple, which has strong competitors offering cheaper products with more features. But Apple’s customers are loyal and inspired by their motto “Think Different,” which perfectly describes their WHY. Customers would rather give money to a business with a progressive identity than save a few bucks buying from a more generic company.
2. An outside perspective can help you uncover your WHY.
If you’ve gone over a dozen stories from your past and still can’t find your WHY, don’t panic. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify a common theme in the things that are important to us, and if this is the case, it might be time to bring in a fresh perspective. Another person who knows you well can be a valuable resource in identifying your WHY. This person doesn’t need to be someone you’re intimate with, just someone who’s curious and observant. It can help if the person you’re talking to isn’t overly familiar with your background and is someone who will ask thoughtful questions – and even take detailed notes.
Asking specific questions is very important to finding your WHY, and these questions often lead to vital details and intense feelings.
3. HOWs can help you in everyday decision-making.
Every now and again, we’re presented with a tough decision, whether it’s a project proposal, partnership or job offer. Having a keen understanding of your own HOWs is key to avoiding disasters and making the right choices that will allow you to flourish.
4. Once you discover your WHY, it’s important to share it.
Part of the journey to reaching a fulfilling life is uncovering your WHY and understanding your HOWs. But the hard work doesn’t end there; next comes the task of sharing it with the world.
Start by offering your WHY statement to those who ask, “What do you do?”. This is a common question in any social situation, and it’s an opportunity to start getting comfortable with expressing your mission in life. Try it with the person sitting next to you on a plane, a fellow guest at a party or a stranger in a waiting room. More importantly, sharing your WHY with the world will push you to commit to it and back up your wordswith actions. The more you give voice to your intentions, the more likely you’ll be to follow through with them.
As for your business, there are a number of reasons to constantly refer back to its mission statement. For starters, it will make it readily apparent when a product or service becomes outdated, or no longer relevant.
But it’s also useful in matters of human resources, such as knowing what to look for during the hiring process, or recognizing when an employee’s WHY isn’t in line with the company’s. Finally, you’ll be sure to find the most productive arrangements possible when you can match the WHYs of your staff with the roles that best suit them. So the more others are familiar with your WHY and the more familiar you are with the WHYs of others, the better off we’ll all be, both personally and professionally.