Recently I worked with a newly configured team to set a vision for who they want to be moving forward As part of this we explored the question of why this team exists within their organization. To stimulate the conversation we rewatched Simon Sinek’s well known TED talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action where he argues that great leaders and great organizations are crystal clear (and able to articulate) not only WHAT they do and HOW they do it but most importantly WHY?
Rewatching the talk and realizing that it is a now ten years old and a little dated (I could barely even remember what a Tevo was, let alone why it was important!), I went looking for some recent material and came across this five minute video also by Sinek, where he sets a path for zeroing in on your own personal why. He argues that each of us has a core why and when we are connected to it, we are much more able to live into our own fullest lives. I found the video motivating and was inspired to follow the steps he outlines to check back in with my own why.
As I watched I was reflected on distinctions between knowing your own ‘purpose’ and knowing your own ‘why’. I’m not sure that for me there is much difference except for the fact that asking myself or others what my purpose is can feel really daunting. A question for late night discussions after significant warm up. Harder to throw into a conversation with a client, colleague or friend at 10 in the morning! And sometimes it can feel as though there is judgment attached – if I don’t know my purpose or can’t articulate it have I somehow failed?
Asking myself why I get up in the morning feels like a (slightly) easier way in to understanding what my deepest motivations are. Of course my initial responses are all about the practicalities of life – getting kids to school, paying the bills etc. But underneath that, I do have an answer and when I am meeting that why full on, even hard days feel fulfilling.
Someone close to me in my life has a why that centers around mending things that are broken. He is happiest when he is helping to fix things – whether that is changing a light-bulb or throwing himself in to solving a really gnarly social challenge out in the world. We had a conversation recently about his current job and while, the job itself is really interesting, it doesn’t sufficiently connect to his why for to want to stay in it for the long term.
So if you are looking for a quick recalibration with your motivations this might be worth checking in on. Febel free to reach out if you are looking for a deeper conversation (PS The photo connects to my own why – message me if you’re curious to know more!)
Note: If you are looking for the full TED talk then you can see it here.